Mar 022016
 

I’ve been stalling on this post because for once, words escape me.  

My friend Octavia is a creative genius. She works in various mediums and so much of her oeurve makes me think of Barb’s “functional fixedness” disorder, in which she cannot fathom that an object meant for one certain use can be used for something else. I’d like to put her in a room with Octavia and watch her mind short-circuit, because Octavia excels at turning found objects into substantive works of art.

Octavia has a very thorough blog post explaining the thought process behind this project. Thank god she wrote that because I can barely muster more than *HEART EYES* and #blessed every time I sit down here to try and gather my thoughts. She really hit this one out of the park, for a sentimental sap like me. Because not only is this something I can fill with my own mementos, but she’s already included a veritable treasure trove of artifacts from one ISABEL STRICKLAND, some broad from Texas who has got to be dead by now.

A dresser of hers was acquired through an auction for Octavia, and the drawers were still full of Isabel’s stuff! What a jackpot!

A nod to my Vintage Snack Attack party!

I can’t wait to stuff this with photos and random road trip keepsakes like tourist trap ticket stubs and those dumb/awesome souvenir pennies. The idea of intermingling my own personal items into someone else’s narrative is really exciting to me, and also daunting. I know I’m going to over-think things, like “Is this the right placement?” or “Does this need more blood spatter?”

Speaking of blood spatter…Octavia thought of everything! This brought back fond memories of the fake journal I made for my serial killer-themed Halloween desk at work in 2011. (See also: when my co-workers learned a lot about me.)

Everything is assembled so purposefully for just the right subtle touch of creepiness. Imagining the work and mental brawn that went into the construction of this faux-heirloom makes me exhausted!

In the early years of my relationship with Henry, I went to some crafting event this broad Moira’s house in Greensburg. She was also very crafty, but not nearly as good as Octavia. Anyway, one of the options for her craft night was to bring an old book to turn into a journal. Christmas was coming and I thought it would be a good opportunity to make something adorable and touching for Henry. So I grabbed an old book about Rasputin (because ROMANCE) and then sat around with a bunch of bitches who brought their patience and licenses to operate glue guns, none of which I had with me. Anyway, this journaling sesh had none of the intricacy as Octavia’s — we didn’t gut our books, but added shit to the pages already there, glued stacks of pages together in order to carve out little recessions in which to hide things, etc etc.

This whole process had a name. I want to say it was called book breaking or something? I don’t know, but it was a real thing where you took old books and repurposed them into some other kind of book and who the fuck knows. All I know is that I worked super hard on it and it added a metric ton (that’s a lot, right?) of stress into my life, only for Henry and I to have a huge fight which culminated in me tearing the book up in front of him before he even got to see it. I had all kinds of bullshit in there too, even A POEM.

A poem that I WROTE!

I mean, it was a stupid, tongue-in-cheek poem, but still. My temper knows no bounds.

All of this is to say that I have a very tiny inkling of the effort that had to have gone into this beautiful journal and I’m just speechless. Even Henry sat there and slowly thumbed his way through every page, pausing to read the CPS reports and making various grunts of approval for Octavia’s hard work. You guys, the clasp Octavia put on it is made from the strap of her FIRST ACCORDION.

I’m not worthy.

  5 Responses to “While Rome Burns: An Octavia Khan Masterpiece”

  1. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Thank you so much!! I only listened to Erin-approved music during the construction on this book. I tried really hard to make it in a way that, after you finished, it would look like a serial killer stole parts of your life and diary and smashed it together into a diary that is also about their grandmother (who obviously is the cause of the whole thing).

    Geez, maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud.

    Try not to worry too much about where you put anything; no matter what gets put where it only serves to make it authentic :-D

    Barb–you’re in good company. My husband has to work reeeeeally hard not to call the art I make and love garbage to my face, haha. ouch.

    • I didn’t know you listened to Erin Music while making it!! That makes it even better! Even just writing about it was difficult because this is something that really needs to be experienced in person. It has that old, vintage scent to it! I keep finding things I missed the first several times I paged through it. IT KEEPS GIVING!

      Your art is so far from garbage <3

  2. […] I have to admit, after I mailed the When Rome Burns journal to my friend Erin, I was extremely anxious about how it would be received. It was a little bit of how disappointed I was with the errors I’d made, but also there was that anxiety unique of sharing something you “made” that is a lot like standing around naked in front of people who have quite intense stares. There are many reasons that, despite several states worth of difference in proximity, I consider Erin one of my road dogs. One of those reasons is that even if she actually feels like I mailed her a turd, she is being extremely generous about not showing it. […]

  3. This is amazing! It looks like something I could sit for hours looking through.

  4. Wow. This is so completely awesome in all aspects. It’s beautiful and SO YOU. I mean, Isabel Strickland? RIGHT UP YOUR ALLEY.

    Lovely. <3

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