Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 15/ Mysterious

     Vacations from school were usually visits to my extended family in Fort Wayne.  My sister and I would spend part of those trips with my school teacher aunts, one of whom had an art studio in the backyard of my grandparents' home.  It was a one-room, small white ranch house by the back alley.  The room was divided down the middle by a counter with storage underneath.  A large picture window faced my grandfather's huge vegetable garden which occupied the empty lot next to their house.  Her studio was called the Castle (see Childhood Castles post).
     My sister and I spent a lot of time there.  We drew, painted, played with clay, and learned how to make copper enameled jewelry.  We explored the many books and materials that were there.
     I was propelled back to my aunt's studio a few years ago during a visit to one of my favorite places in Milwaukee,  Artasia (http://www.artasiagallery.com/indexold.html).
     This dark and mysterious shop is full of Asian relics, works of art, clothing, furniture, jade pendants, and more. One never knows what interesting and exotic objects might be hiding in a corner; one often does not even know what they are!  I love going there and just exploring.  I check out everything from large, beautifully carved pieces of furniture to huge statues of warriors to paintings of every size to jewelry.  It's a visual and sensual feast.
     A few years ago Artasia expanded.  My husband and I visited when the upper level was in the process of becoming an art gallery featuring the works by family members of the owner, all of whom are artists (I think).
     We stopped by on a gloomy November day.  After exploring the shop we walked upstairs and entered a large room full of light, quite a contrast to what was below.  Walls and tables were covered with works of art, many pleasantly quirky, and some not completed.  Things were in disarray.  It seemed like such a happy place, with bright, cheerful colors and, oh my, the smell...it was just like that of my aunt's studio, paint and clay!  Memories began to surface.  Oh, I loved this experience; I did not want to leave!  It felt so good, especially in contrast to the gloominess below and outside.
     That experience fed my thoughts for some time.  It is amazing to me that an aroma can evoke so many memories.  It is interesting to me that I, not an artist, can walk into an art studio of strangers and feel so at home.
      I enjoy the book The Artist's Way, which is a course in how to unblock creativity.  One of the recommendations is to take an artist field trip each week.  One of my places to do this is Artasia.  If you are like Asian art and are near Milwaukee,  it is a great place to go!



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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.