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Small Pleasures, January 1-31, 2007

This project began because I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of 'stuff' in the world and questioning my place as a maker of objects. In late 2006, I decided to slow down and examine what making means. Using simple materials and formal structure, I explored what it felt like to do the same thing over and over. I created a collage each day for a year and sent a jpeg by e-mail to friends and kept a record of the process. Each image is a 7" square ruled onto paper with a 4 ˝" diameter circle roughly centered. Dry pastels create background color and eggshells have been glued into the circle using matte medium. The choice of a square and circle was deliberate; I wanted to use a commonplace formal arrangement to inspire the widest possible invention to occur within that structure.

At first, one color was used for the background (from something in my life that day) and a single shell color in the circle. The central area took about 2 shells and each of these constructions took between 1 ˝ to 5 hours to create with the average being a bit over 2 hours. As the project progressed I experimented with designs in the circle using the variations in shell colors to create imagery. After a trip to the Republic of Georgia, I chose to vary the background colors as well. I buy eggs from organic farmers in this area. They raise aricana chickens that lay eggs with shells in beautiful greens, browns, and white. I’ve been saving shells for over eight years. At no time were the shells used in the project altered in their coloration.

At the end of 2007, I had created 243 ‘Small Pleasures’. They have been shown in a number of venues. Each is for sale and all the proceeds go to organizations here in Ames that help people turn their lives around. The deep pleasure, stimulating thinking, and immeasurable rewards of being a maker fill me with a profound sense of my good fortune. Sharing this within my community has begun to help me make sense of my work.

For further information on those available for sale, e-mail me: Cost of each is $150. That includes shipping within the U.S. If you are curious about the color reference or the note that was sent by e-mail with each of these pieces, contact me and I’ll send it along.