Short Pieces About Making

Talking About the New Series: Indifferent Garden

Working on Grey Pansy. On my monitor is a detail from the scan, and on my desk is the original in my notebook. Underneath it is a 13x19 proof.

I love a moody floral. With a couple of exceptions, the flowers in the current series, "Indifferent Gardens," I've harvested from old greeting cards. In addition to the gorgeous colors, liberal use of this delicious almost matte gold, and half-tone dots, the flowers are embossed, which presents a particular set of challenges -- first, capturing the extremely subtle depth and shadow in the scans, then rendering those critical characteristics in the prints.

Here are a couple of details. "Grey Pansy" is on the left, a detail from "If the Tiny Blue Flower" is on the right: 

Typically a lacquer coats the cards that is either cracked, or cracks the instant I start working with the paper. Terrifically pleasing to me in the original, though very difficult to see, I was curious how the cracking would scan and print. I'm thrilled to say, though I'm very early in the process, the cracks are coming up remarkably well, both in the scan, and printed at scale. 

The series title connects in my mind to Louise Gluck’s book The Wild Iris, but the connection may be pure association, I haven’t gone back through the book (both copies we own are still packed) to suss it out. The book is one of those lodged in my fundament, the poems are full of literally moody flowers and lines from them recite themselves in my mind — I tell you I could speak again: whatever / returns from oblivion returns / to find a voice. That's the titular Wild Iris speaking, by the way. And I happen to think Gluck's spareness and punctuation are exquisite. For instance, say that's not a beautiful colon — 

I tell you I could speak again: whatever

And the confluence of idea, language, and arrangement in the next line —

returns from oblivion returns

is poetry.

Gluck's lines as she made them, and as they exist in my life, and the phenomenon of intuitive, mostly unconscious connection over decades, speaks to me of the essential mystery to making: how, if anything interesting happens at all, it results from collaboration rather than control. It results from the independent life of the made thing reaching back to the vehicle of its making, and out into the world, and back again, to assemble itself. 

Which is to say, were I to go back to Wild Iris, I may not find the literal thread. But I'll insist it's there nonetheless.

The full scan, in process, working title Grey Pansy. Candidate for my new series, Indifferent Garden. Obviously, all rights reserved by me, Kimberly McClintock.

Sneak preview ... not mentioned elsewhere, this is an uncorrected scan of "onli" (working title), also a candidate for the Indifferent Garden series. In it, too, the embossing is visible. "onli" (or whatever its title ends up being) is a bridge piece between Indifferent Garden and the next series, Strange Maps. Again, all rights reserved by me, Kimberly McClintock.