Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Ancient Rituals of the Magnolia Dance

The Ancient Rituals of the Magnolia Dance collage by June Anderson of Under the Plum Blossom Tree blog, collage by June Anderson, June Anderson collagist, June Anderson collage artist, collage art by June Anderson, dance collage art, floral collage art, magnolia flower collage art, Martha Graham dancers 1937 collage, Martha Graham dancers Celebration 1937, Martha Graham Celebration collage, embrace joy collage, welcome happiness collage, magnolia grove, magnolia garden, dance on magnolia petals in the rain

Friends, today's collage is a reminder to fully embrace joyful moments when they show themselves - to welcome with open arms that which brings you happiness, even if only for a moment. To feel joy as if you are dancing in the rain on soft magnolia petals while birds fly by without noticing that life is anything other than joyful or pleasurable. 

Although dance is not that old of an art form (in comparison to magnolias), it is certainly an ancient form of expression. The magnolia, on the other hand, is a prehistoric plant with origins dating from 20 to 100 million years ago. And if you've ever stood in a magnolia grove or garden and felt their presence, you might feel as I did - that they seem to be performing their own kind of dance as they bend and yield to the abundance of flowers that bloom on bare branches. It may seem odd to juxtapose the two, but I love to dream of new places and to challenge myself to create an atmosphere that is unlike the one I currently exist in, so my collage work in this season of life is an attempt to fully embrace that kind of mood. Right now it is central to the way in which I choose to tell stories with paper and glue.

A few weeks ago, as I was putting together the Amelia, It Was Just a False Alarm collage project, I found the Martha Graham dancers (circa 1937), above, in the same file folder as the Amelia Earhart image. I made a mental note to revisit the dancers because I knew at that moment that they would be performing The Ancient Rituals of the Magnolia Dance and I'm so glad to have actually gotten it made and very happy to share it with you here.

Thanks for looking!

 
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Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Gathering of Great Grey Owls

A Gathering of Great Grey Owls collage by June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree, handcut vintage paper collage, vintage handcut paper collage, Great Grey Owl collage, Strix nebulosa collage, habitat loss Great Grey Owl, mystery of Great Grey Owl, endurance of Great Grey Owl, childs view of Great Grey Owl, aestheticising the Great Grey Owl

Friends, once upon a time the owl, also known as the bird of darkness, was mysterious, ominous and associated with wisdom. Featured in the art, literature and culture of many different peoples around the world, the symbolism of the owl had a deep connection for those who were searching for the meaning of life through storytelling. That connection helped to satisfy the human need for explanations about human origins, social relationships and beliefs. And while all that may still be true, the health of the various owl populations has been and is suffering from human intervention and habitat loss.

For example the biggest threat to the Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa), above, is timber harvesting. The Great Grey depends on trees for nesting, raising their young, food, and for protection. In addition, livestock grazing in meadows reduces the rodent population, their preferred source of food. While the Great Grey Owl has few natural predators, poisoning by rodenticides, collisions with vehicles and disease all take a toll on the population.

In considering these culturally historic and environmental aspects of the life of the owl I have found that my artistic emotional response to the plight of these fragile creatures has resulted in a desire to aestheticize them. Through the medium of collage I am able to elevate their status in a manner that can draw attention to their plight. I have to confess that my inner child believes that this Great Grey Owl, adorned in pink roses which partially conceal her baby owls, wants to tell me her stories of predicaments, difficulties, and survival, and of the brave things she must do to sustain her life and that of her young ones. And in my imaginings I am in awe at her unwavering courage, fearlessness and ability to endure.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

What Happens in the Chair, Stays in the Chair?

Under The Plum Blossom Tree What Happens in the Chair, Stays in the Chair? collage by June Anderson, vintage handcut paper collage by June Anderson, vintage paper collage by June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree, vintage kitsch collage

Friends, a few weeks ago I mentioned that with collage the magic can happen after a time-consuming session of paper cutting.

I enjoy flipping through old magazines whilst I have my 5:30 p.m. coffee. That is usually followed by another session of cutting out images I'm attracted to. Then the fun part is just sitting with them and looking, looking, looking.

As a result, I think 'vintage kitsch' caught up with me on this collage! Both of the black and white images are from advertisements and each were interesting to me in their own right. Then, in one of those flash of an idea moments, I got the notion to look through my vintage gardens books for a possible way to connect the two and I am very happy with the results!

I'm looking forward to creating more collage magic to share with you, so please do stop in again in a week or so. Thanks for reading!

 
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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Amelia, It Was Just a False Alarm

Amelia, It Was Just a False Alarm collage by June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog, Amelia vintage paper collage, Amelia hand cut paper collage, Amelia Joni Mitchell, Joni Mitchell Amelia, aviator Amelia Earhart, pilot Amelia Earhart, Amelia Earhart transcontinental flight, collage of Amelia Earhart, Amelia Earhart artwork, Amelia Earhart American pilot, Amelia Earhart last flight, story of Amelia Earhart

Friends, in a serendipitous moment I found myself exploring the feelings of isolation and loneliness as I pieced together this collage.

On a recent chilly autumn day I was leafing through a copy of Wild Flowers of America by H.W. Rickett looking for a specific image (I don't remember what it was now) and stopped to study this Prickly Pear (Opuntia polyacantha). Later that same day, as I was looking through my file folder of people images torn from magazines, I spotted this image of Amelia Earhart and immediately thought of the Prickly Pear. Then suddenly a verse from Joni Mitchell's Amelia popped into my head:
  
I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747's
Over geometric farms
Dreams, Amelia, dreams and false alarms


In Amelia, Mitchell is referring to Amelia Earhart (b. 1897), an American airplane pilot. Earhart was the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, authored books about her flying experiences and mentored women in aviation studies. In 1937 Amelia and Fred Noonan, her navigator, disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Amelia's body was never found and she was pronounced dead in absentia in 1939.

Singer-songwriter and musician Joni Mitchell (b. 1943) wrote Amelia in 1976 as a tribute to 'the sweet loneliness of solitary travel' while driving cross-country by herself 'reflecting on the cost of being a woman and having something you must do.' In the song Mitchell alludes to Earhart's solo airplane travels while telling her own story of a love lost:

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm


It felt appropriate to place Amelia in a quiet isolated cactus world, standing alone, surveying her surroundings. To further enhance the atmosphere, I added three flying geese (solo pilots?). Is she reminiscing about solo flights of the past? Or can she see into the future? Is she lonely, or comfortable at icy altitudes? These are universal questions each of us must ask ourselves from time to time.

It felt good to explore them through art making.

Thank you for looking, and here are the lyrics to Amelia in full:

Amelia

by Joni Mitchell

I was driving across the burning desert
When I spotted six jet planes
Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
It was the hexagram of the heavens
It was the strings of my guitar
Amelia it was just a false alarm

The drone of flying engines
Is a song so wild and blue
It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
Then your life becomes a travelogue
Of picture post card charms
Amelia it was just a false alarm

People will tell you where they've gone
They'll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Others just come to harm
Oh, Amelia it was just a false alarm

I wish that he was here tonight
It's so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell Amelia it was just a false alarm

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia it was just a false alarm

Maybe I've never really loved
I guess that is the truth
I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitudes
And looking down on everything
I crashed into his arms
Amelia it was just a false alarm

I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747s
Over geometric farms
Dreams Amelia - dreams and false alarms

© 1976; Crazy Crow Music

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Grow into Your Power Pose

Grow into Your Power Pose a collage by June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree, vintage hand cut paper collage, hand cut vintage paper collage, vintage collage, fashion collage, floral collage, botanical collage, empowerment collage

Hello friends! Well, it's been one week since I returned to the blog after a long absence and I'm back with another collage to share with you.

Have I mentioned my love of using vintage imagery for collage? I can entertain myself for hours looking through old magazines and books and be amused at the way life used to be and fascinated by the ways in which people were depicted. 

In collage, the fun begins when you start cutting out images that you like and are attracted to. And the magic happens after you've spent some time cutting and ideas start percolating. 

Grow into Your Power Pose is a juxtaposition of some of my favorite subjects - fashion, birds and flora. It was an experiment in creating a kind of bird person which is something I've been seeing a lot of and wanted to try. The surprise came in discovering how the hand of the woman exactly matched up with the root ball of the flower. It's as if her power is derived from the energy of the plant and from the earth. It felt very powerful and grounded - definitive. It made me think of how difficult it can be for some women to stand in their own power and how if we could think of it as something that comes from a natural force (the earth) then it might be easier for us to grow into our power rather than trying to fit into a predetermined mold that may not suit us. 

Right now it's all about experimentation in this medium and searching for windows of opportunity in both having the time and space for creating and for thinking about subject matter and developing ideas. I'm enjoying the process immensely and, so far, the ideas keep coming. I'm on a new wave! Hopefully I will be back again in a week or so and show you another piece.

See you then!

 


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Monday, October 21, 2019

A Busy Day in the Forest

A Busy Day in the Forest collage by June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree, hand cut vintage paper collage, vintage floral collage, vintage black and white floral collage, collaged vintage images, vintage woman collage, vintage magazine collage, collage with vintage magazines, collaged flower crown, vintage hand cut flower crown collage

Hello blog world! It's so good to be back. The funny thing is that I didn't know I was going to be absent from this blog...until I was. In the beginning of 2019 I was excited that this is the fifth year of the blog. I had plans! And then they slowly fell away and I found it refreshing to not have any plans.

Then when spring came around it was time to start making art again. The City of Eugene Mayor's Art Show had a call out for submissions so I started cutting and pasting. I came up with several compositions but I knew I wasn't making anything that would fit their criteria - but I didn't care - I was on a new wave with collage and it has been making me happy! I submitted the work above, titled A Busy Day in the Forest, and it wasn't accepted. But that's okay, the rejected works were shown at the Salon des Refusés across the street from the Mayor's Art Show.

The main thing is to keep making art, right?

And that is what I intend to do. From now on I am limiting my creative activities to only working on collage. For the time being, I am restricting what time, energy and resources I can gather to this one thing. So that means this blog will change. But that's okay - I've been 'throwing it all out there' for five years now, trying my hand at many different kinds of topics to blog about and art has been one of them. So I've decided it's time to make up my mind and stick to one thing - a scary thought! 

So wish me luck on my new wave and check back in sometime. Consistency on the blog has never been my strong suit - that's for real life - job and family. But I do love to share what I'm excited about and am interested in what you struggle with in pursuing an art practice or creative endeavor, so leave me a comment!

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

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Hello friends! Welcome to another shop update for Vintage Tea Treasures, my Etsy shop, where you'll find classic, timeless and fun teatime china ware suitable for any occasion where timeless beauty is what you require.

Did you know that Vintage Tea Treasures now offers vintage gifts? Since opening the shop it has been a fascinating and challenging journey learning all there is to know about the history of the British pottery factories. As that understanding grows, so does my curator's eye as I am out and about searching for lovely tea ware for you to enjoy.

For example, when I recently spotted the two c. 1992 Royal Doulton bone china ballerina figurines above I knew they would be perfect additions to the new 'vintage gifts' shop category. Modelled by artist Alan Maslankowski each captures the beauty, grace and elegance of a classic ballerina. Hand made and hand decorated, both 'Little Ballerina' (above left) and 'Ballet Shoes' (above right) are available now.

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I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw this Spode bone china 'Bridal Rose' coffeepot! At this point I have seen many pieces of lovely vintage tea ware that are designed to look like real botanics such as teacups that suggest flower petals and have 'branch' handles, but I never saw anything so rich in texture and detail as this very special coffeepot.

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With its realistic cabbage leaf-like textured pattern 'growing' up from the base to its branch-like handle embellished with pretty rose bouquets, perhaps 'Bridal Rose' was truly meant for a bride or bride to be.

And lastly, how lovely is this Harleigh China pink roses teacup and saucer duo? There are not too many Harleigh China pieces out there for comparison but I can assure you that it is a high quality brand that pings with perfection, loudly and strong. A testament to the timeless quality of vintage bone china.

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For all the details about these and more than one hundred other vintage tea ware offerings, (and the new vintage gifts section) including additional photographs, measurements and prices, please visit Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy. And as an Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog reader you can save ten percent off your order with code PLUMBLOSSOM10.

Thank you for reading!
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