Friday, September 15, 2017

SPARK 34: Seek Out a Challenge...With a Deadline!

Spent Magnolia Pistils
by Jonathan Ottke
Click to Enlarge

Response to Jonathan Ottke's Photograph

Students - Early this month, I participated in SPARK: ART FROM WRITING, WRITING FROM ART, Amy Souza's wonderful community of people sharing work to inspire more work.  Since 2010, on a regular basis, Amy opens up an invitation.  Anyone who wishes may sign up to work with a partner.  Amy assigns the partners and then each pair trades a piece of art or music with a piece of writing.  The partners each have ten days to create a new piece of work based on the other's inspiration piece.   I was paired with artist Jonathan Ottke, and we each sent each other a piece and we each created a new reponse piece, he from my poem Bottles, me from his photograph, Spent Magnolia Pistils.

I feel fortunate to have received Jonathan Ottke's lovely photograph, Spent Magnolia Pistils, above, as my inspiration piece. I love the stillness and the fragile feeling I have inside when I look at this image. It makes me think about beauty and about death and goodbye.  Studying Jonathan's photo and thinking my own thoughts inspired me to write my response poem And so it is.

Here is what Jonathan wrote to me about taking photographs:  With photography - you capture a photo - you usually don't create it unless its a still life in a studio.  I was interested in photographing the magnolias in a new way and went to Capitol Hill where they have a nice line of trees and found, and captured this.  The poem is apropos, because my uncle is dying and has only weeks to live, it was very touching for me.

I gave Jonathan a two-year-old poem, Bottles, as his inspiration piece. But of course I had to revise and tweak the poem before I sent it to him.  Much time had passed since I had read it, and I knew it could be stronger. Here is the older draft, at The Poem Farm in June 2015.  And below is the revised version.

by Jonathan Ottke
Inspired by Amy LV's Poem
(Click to Enlarge)

I asked Jonathan to tell me about how he arrived at his response art piece, inspired by my poem.  He said, I usually see the general outlines of a work in my mind once I've worked out he idea.  For this one, I thought of a modified version of the letters of the alphabet.  Where instead of letters each one represented a memory.  Once I had the squares, all that was left was filling each one with swirls and lines of my imagination and memories.

He was also generous to share the intermediate step for the Bottles response:

Intermediate Art Step
by Jonathan Ottke
Click to Enlarge

I find Jonathan's piece whimsical and fascinating.  I just keep studying it, and each time I see new pictures and imagine new imaginings.

Working with someone else, sharing work to find new ideas and to strive toward a deadline is a grand way to push ourselves as makers.  I am grateful to Amy Souza of SPARK for pairing me with Jonathan and for making this space for so many of us to work together.

You might consider trying this.  Find another maker...promise to trade a piece of written, visual, or musical art. Choose a number of days to each make new response pieces inspired by the ones you are given.  And see what happens!  Often what happens...will be a SPARK!

Lucky me this week to be visiting Irene Latham's Live Your Poem!  She invited me to visit to share a bit behind the scenes of READ! READ! READ!, and I couldn't be happier.  Boyds Mills Press (donating books) and I (signing and shipping books) are holding a giveaway for this forthcoming (Tuesday!) book, joyfully illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke.

This giveaway runs through September 20 (Wednesday!), and there will be five winners of one signed book each.  You may enter HERE.

Michelle is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Today's Little Ditty. She is sharing words of Peace and an invitation to share on the Peace Padlet that Margarita Engle and I have put together, and too, she is sharing an invitation to write peace poems. Teachers - please take a peek at the Padlet, and add to it if you are willing.  And please know....Poetry Friday is for everyone.  We welcome you every single week!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


Tabatha said...

Love this project! You play off each other so beautifully.

Linda B said...

I love those (what I imagine as) shadows in Jonathan's bottles, and both poems speak in ways of remembering, ensuring that we make what we notice ours in special ways. Your bottles remind me of Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, "summer in a glass". All beautiful, Amy!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

There's a lot of magic in this SPARK collaboration, Amy! I love the stunning Magnolia photo and your touching interpretation. I also had fun examining Jonathan's collection of memories to find which one was the snow, and the kiss, and Old Moonlight. I've always wanted to take part in a SPARK collaboration—yours has been inspiring. xo

Tara said...

Love this poem project, Amy - especially the magnolia one.

Brenda Harsham said...

I love how visual your poem is Amy. And how you've captured the range of feelings in that magnolia with the magic of your inner joy. I like the bottles art. Looks like the Spark challenge helps you stretch, like art-yoga.

Mitchell Linda said...

So good to see you fully back from summer. Spark is such a perfect September poem. The thought of endings is there even in the pink petals. But, it's not something we have to deal with quite yet. I love the idea of pairing. I think I might give it a try! I always learn from you. Thank you, friend.