contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.


Jean De Muzio

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Relics


My grandmother ruffles through a box of material
that smells of mothballs. 4X4 squares
of old curtains, denims, dresses, ties, scarves.
Anything that could be cut to make quilts
packed so tightly in a yellowed box
the color on the fabric has no room to fade.
She searches for a newspaper article.
I've been through the box twice. Its not there.
She is so sure, so serene
as if by memory alone she can will it there.


Just to let you know that I am occasionally posting at Instagram. @leslieavonmiller



Her fingers lull through the fabric
loosening the earth of her past.
Each square, a sermon, a kiss, a new dish.
Hands still immersed, she recites the article.
It is of my father's early promotion in the Army.
I know how she must have studied it, line by line,
until the words became his uniform,
his boots, his medals, his tags.

I have been enjoying the art of still life. I use things I have gathered from nature, small collage, mail art and some relics from my family. The elephant was a souvenir my Dad picked up in WWII as a gift for his Mom. I cherish it with its handmade personality and wabi sabi appearance. In my mind's eye I see it sitting on a glass shelf in the corner of the kitchen. I can almost smell cooking applesauce.


She does not find it but she smiles. She offers me
the fabric to make quilts, pillowcases,
anything that can be sewn into a memory.
I take it, though I have already memorized her:
the smell of mothballs on her hands,
the rows of vegtables she nurtured
wearing the flowered dress that lies in pieces in the box.
I see her in my sleep. Words on a page.
I recite her.

~Poem entitled Vera Jewel
by Michelle McMillan-Holifield

This lovely typewritter was my Mother's Mother's. She had been a one room school house teacher, and then later the bookkeeper for her husband's auto repair garage. One day they packed up and went to Alaska. They never returned for the house full of things they left behind. They became my Mother's and are now mine. They are old enough now to be "vintage". I find them appealing and find it enjoyable to "document" them, via still life.

These things of our lives are never really ours. We are temporary custodians.



16 comments:

  1. Such evolution in online presence. I am enjoying instagram, but it is very "instant". Blogs are still best for in depth exploration and conversations.

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  2. la boite à souvenirs, un moyen de créer pour les suivants...
    je suis très attaché au blog ..un moyen de observer,admirer et entrer en contact avec les amis et les artistes...je regarde souvent, mais ne laisse pas toujours un commentaire...bises

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  3. Leslie, what a gift to open on this cold winter's morning! I have so missed your posts especially since "blogs are still best for in depth exploration and conversation". I do look at your Instagram but seeing the images here with the story behind your pieces is a treat. The poem adds to the ambiance of your vintage treasures. I love the story of your grandparents packing up and escaping to Alaska....never to return. How brave and exciting! It reminds me of my ancestors who packed up and arrived by ship in South Africa, only to have the ship sink a few miles from harbour taking with it all their worldly possessions. They were brave souls...our ancestors.

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  4. Reading this...you took me there, with you. Beautiful...Laura

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  5. lovely post Leslie. What adventurers your ancestors were! Robyn's too!

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  6. a MOST enticing, invigorating, precious post. THANK YOU ;)

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  7. I love that your collages have now become 3 dimensional in still life form. You'd make a great "stylist"... that art of making still life for books and such. Quite a story of your grandmother.

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  8. I am so glad I discovered your blog. I have really enjoyed looking back at your beautiful artwork and look forward to seeing more.

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  9. So nice to read your post. That poem is so lovely. This whole post makes me think of my grandmother, whose sewing box I inherited, along with some pieces of fabric that she had. Your still life's are a beautiful expression of your mother's and grandmother's stories.

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  10. So nice to read your post. That poem is so lovely. This whole post makes me think of my grandmother, whose sewing box I inherited, along with some pieces of fabric that she had. Your still life's are a beautiful expression of your mother's and grandmother's stories.

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  11. I feel like I have visited with you in person reading about these relics and your memories. Lovely! :-)

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  12. Thank you all so much! I am looking forward to continuing the conversation...

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  13. So many lovely images and words here Leslie - poignant, reflective and gentle, thank you.

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  14. Hi LAM - sorry it has taken me so long to visit. I love seeing fellow blogger such as you popping up and letting me know that they are still enjoying the creative life irrespective of the form that might take. Thanks for sharing your treasures and reflections. Go well. B

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  15. Thank you Fiona and Barry. Creativity insists and so I find a way...

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