it is a beautiful spring day, one in a series of beautiful days, and i woke up this morning feeling that it was time to sit and write about my True Colors experience. truth be told, i wasn't able to keep up with the regime all the way to the very end, as others did; yet, the group stalwartly and kindly continued to send my big ol' journal of Metallics (dubbed by Lynne as Heavy Metal, it is ENORMOUS...what was i thinking?!) around until everyone had done a page or two in it.
back in the mid 1990's, when i was still attending the new york wholesale gift shows, a fellow jeweler friend took me down to a wonderful little shop in soho that specialized in metal trim - enormous rolls of it, like the sort you used to find on lampshades and such. i found a lovely length of silver toned trim with a pointed, crown-like design, and attached strips of it all around the front in a sort of "frame". i then glued a grid of round glass and metal tin lids with little findings behind them. finally, i hammered the words "True Colors" and the year - 2001 (that long ago?!) into two strips of brass, and wired those to the front.
i just got out the measuring tape and am amazed at how big this book actually is, that i was so stupid as to think it would be convenient for the entire group to mail back and forth across this great big country: 10" x 15", with a spine six inches thick!!! but everyone was a true trooper, and the results are incredible.
what i love about this collaboration most of all, in retrospect, is that it formed a bond amongst the 15 artists that is still there today; our "leader", lynne perrella, still sends out group letters to us all that will trigger responses from quite a few of us in return. we talk of art, and food, and books, and museum visits, we remember childhood stories, childhood dreams. even today lynne sent out a letter talking about housecleaning, purging, airing things for spring and how good all of that feels.
i'm not the best at joining clubs, at deadlines, at rules or guidelines, anything like that; i never have been. consider me a good example of the proverbial wallflower. but this project, along with another i did with 24 fellow artists about self portraits that teesha moore organized, is something in which i'll always be honored and grateful to have been included. the artwork is phenomenal; there are pages that i'd love to cut out and hang on the wall, but i don't dare ruin the collective format within those heavy pages.
it feels a little like everything we did is now sacred, if that makes sense - the time spent on those varied journals was intense and inspiring, and very much treasured by all who were involved. obviously, its format, its concept, spoke to a lot of people when the book came out, and it was fun to see how different collaborations sprang off of that notion of working with one specific color scheme.
lynne is one amazing woman (we took to calling her The Prism, for her sage wisdom and guidance of our many colored ways); she has wisely guided and helped many of us throughout the years, urged us to go beyond our safety zone, made me sit back and think what i could do to express myself in a format that would be shared by many. the work i did - the detail, the emotion - is something that amazes me still.
it was fun getting out the Behemoth just now (heaving it off the shelf is no easy feat!), dusting off the cover and all those little round lenses of glass to see what was held inside. i wish i could have each and every one of you pick it up, feel its weight, turn the pages and watch the sunlight glimmer on the different metal details held there on its pages. Fellow True Colors participants, i send my humblest gratitude out to you all over again, along with a great big hug.
xo nina bagley