Like Dver at A Forest Door, winter has oddly been the time of the year I feel most tuned in to Apollon (or well, well, as she did before said devotional relationship ended). This regularly perplexes me, as I’ve made no secret of my seasonal depression (where Winter is my season), nor my chronic back pain (which gets worse in cold weather), but on the better days during the winter, I try to use that closeness to get some time with the Moisai of art. In fact, since my schedule tends to wind down a bit in winter, I’ve been making efforts to schedule in some art time.
As you all probably know by now, I write, paint, and make music, in addition to running my mouth on the Internet, updating a calendar by hand, pressing buttons (some of which I even design, myself!), and sculpting Hellenic Alphabet divination tiles out of polymer clay. Sometimes I also just get a thing of Sculpey and make about a dozen tiny penises. Oh, and if you were at the Polytheist Leadership Conference at Fishkill, NY, this last summer, you just might remember my bag that I took a Bedazzler and Polari to.
I bring this up now because I’m too excited by one of my luckiest finds I ever did find:
At my friend Kelly’s shop, I ran into an old acquaintance. I don’t think he recognised me, but it’s been at least five years (three-and-a-half of which, I was in Lansing) and one public appearance of gender ago, and while we saw each other in a lot of the same places, we were never really friends, but I digress. So, apparently he and his boyfriend are leaving for California tomorrow or something, so he was at Kelly’s shop to see if she wanted to buy, or at least do anything with a small bundle of vintage clothing and five or six mannequin torsos.
Kelly took the clothes, but really had no use for the torsos, as a few of them weren’t free-standing or were “too modern”. Lesley, the employee she had in today, bought the gold one, cos why not, right? And I offered all the cash I had on me (which was only $8) for this one, after it was suggested that he was just going to leave the box of torsos out by the kerb with a “FREE” sign. I knew from walking in at the middle of the convo that he and his boyfriend were going to be driving to California, so I figured the cash could be a help, even if it wasn’t that much, and honestly, while I could’ve waited a few minutes for her to go for free, I didn’t want to risk someone else snatching her up or some jackass student picking her out and smashing her (it may have only been about 6 in the afternoon, but that kind of shit’s been known to happen on a Monday in downtown Ann Arbor).
And I picked her out not just for the clear Erté-influence to her design, but because I got an immediate vision.
A lot of my paintings were planned exactly as they look (more or less), and this started when I went to the store for canvases and went looking through each one until I found one that I saw a painting on. I know that probably sounds nuts to a lot of people, but it’s how I work, and considering that I really love most of my paintings, I’m not going to argue with this process. That’s the sort of thing happened with this mannequin.
My acquaintance named her Prudence, but the vibe I got right away was Aphrodite Melainis. I know exactly what colours I’m going to use, which paints will be glitter and which will be satins or gloss. I know how many rhinestones I’m going to applique and in what patterns. The only thing I don’t know is how long it’s going to take me to find her a lower body and arms (but I know there are certainly mannequin collectors where I can eventually procure these parts from), nor do I exactly know how those parts look (she has sockets for them, so clearly she had them at one time, and can eventually have them again), but I know how I’m going to paint those parts and how I’ll embellish on them.
She’s a project that is probably going to take years, maybe even the better part of the next decade or two, to complete, but it’ll be worth it. It’s also brutally important, at this point, that I sell some paintings to help fund this project. It’ll all be worth it, of course, and the uncertainty of my abilities to complete her is obviously no reason to not start as soon as possible. After I clear her up some, I’m going to take a few clear images and do a thorough search for any identifying marks so I can make it easier to hunt down her maker and model names, if only to streamline my search for her missing lower half and arms. After I’ve got the photos and any other information that can help my search for an “official” identity, I’m going to start working on her transformation to Melainis. I’m also going to crack down on getting my room in order, if only so that I have space for her and her progress.
At this time, this is probably the most important piece of art I’ve decided to take on.