Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Spy Series 2011 or...when I was a little girl

I can remember at the age of 4 running in the back yard with an empty Smucker's jar in my hands.  I was running because I had found a tomato caterpillar (that's what we call them in Illinois) in my father's garden.
Tomato caterpillars were fair game when they were in my father's garden.

My very first job at 4 years of age.  Hunting and removing tomato caterpillars from my daddy's garden.  Let me tell you I took that job seriously.  I would put a caterpillar in a jar with leaves to eat and a branch.  I tended my jars of pillars until they all hung upside down from their branches, wrapped in a silky cocoon.

Thank goodness for a mom who saved jars!

I would take jars to the creek for crawdaddies.
I would take jars to the park for ants.
I would take jars to the field behind our house for butterflies.
I would take jars in the backyard at dusk and collect fireflies.
I would take jars to the lake and collect tadpoles.
I would take jars to the big alley next to our house and collect beetles.

Yup, Smucker's jars and tiny eco-worlds were an obsession all the way up to now.

When I was 9 I saw my first Diorama at a natural history museum.  The idea of placing deceased taxidermied creatures in a box and re-creating their world absolutely knocked my little socks off!  I was enamoured and entranced. Such an odd macabre site, yet, I couldn't get enough.

There was a strong connection to these moment's of life in a glass box that has stayed with me all my life.  I have a fetish for creatures in glass cages and aquariums. I visit pet shops just to stand and watch.  But the natural museum diorama is the real fix to my addiction.
I have taken these two childhood influences and brought them forward into the I Spy series.  I Spy is art and homage and love and memories pouring into every glass jar and box for my I Spy series.  It's a family affair, too. Christopher, our son the author, gave me his childhood bug collection to pick and choose resident's for I Spy eco-world's.  My husband found this tiny frog, dried up and passed under our cafe table in the sunroom.  What a perfect subject!  And so...another I Spy Diorama is born in a jar.

I Spy is close to my heart and every piece is one of a kind and will not be reproduced.  They are small, they are special and they each carry a childhood love forward.  I hope you will find them as engaging and beautiful as those jars and dioramas that influenced me so long ago.

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