A Tale of Two Shadowboxes

More thoughts on “perfection”….

I created this shadowbox a year or so after we moved to California:

This is the original version. Shrine Series: Bear Clan

Then last year, I made some changes, adding another ‘base’, removing the lower bear and adding fish.

Yesterday, I decided it would be the work I bring to Corrick’s Stationery, Gallery, and Gifts on 4th Street in Santa Rosa CA for their upcoming preview exhibit for Sebastopol Center for the Arts‘ combined Virtual Open Studio events in October.

But it needed something. So I spent the day adding tiny bits of sanded and plished driftwood, and…an otter!

And this is the version after two updates, the last of which was YESTERDAY.  Now it’s called Shrine Series: Bear Clan   Shaman’s Song of the River

It’s not that the first version wasn’t good enough. Nor the second. I liked them both!

But sometimes, one of my pieces just keeps ‘growing.”

It’s also part of my story.

I started with a big quilt, then moved to baby quilts. Then quilts for my kids’ dolls and toy animals. Then they became wall pieces, then wall hangings, and now including framed fiber collages.

My aesthetic was always ‘time-worn’, influenced by Amish quilts (reusing/repurposing pieces of worn-out clothing for the quilt squares) and Japanest scroll paintings (which, when damaged by time, were carefully remounted on new silk backgrounds.) Then wabi sabi, the acceptance–and new beauty–to be found in the worn and broken. The knowledge that, in ancient times, every effort was made to repair, emake, reuse, repurpose whatever took a lot of effort to create.

So every time I remake/repair/add on something to an older piece, it’s actually part of my process and aesthetic.

It only stops when it goes to YOUR home.

Unless, of course, your rabbit nibbles the edges, or your dog breaks your necklace, or your cat knocks my sculpture off your piano. (All of these are true!)

And then I come to the rescue, again. Grateful that these re-do’s and repairs are inherent in all the work I do.

Happy to be able to restore your broken and damaged work, so they can continue to give you years of joy.

Also curious… Which one do YOU like better?



Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

8 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Shadowboxes”

  1. I like them BOTH, but lean towards the first one for it’s simplicity and that it treats the two bears with SUCH honor having them as the only two such things in the shrine. I feel like lighting a candle in front of it. At the same time, the second one has such a wonderful collection of river things that tell a longer story. For that reason it’s successful for an entirely different reason. May I suggest using a warmer, darker paper for the bottom plaque. The white keeps pulling my eye away from the rest. Thinking parchment or something earthier that borrows from the colors in the fish and animals or even darker between their color and the wood so that it merges INTO the art. That’s the ONLY thing I’d change. Lordy, I hate critiquing other artists, even if they ask for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, Michael, your comments are AMAZING!! And yes, your observations…. I’m always ‘updating’ older work, and yet there are many many folks who still love those older pieces. Re: the paper, I cut it from an envelope, dating from…grab your pearls!…1916. Found a bundle in an antique store for a buck or two, with handwritten and typed letters, from a woman who lived in Vermont. Most of them are about filling orders for butter (at 28 OMG THERE’S NO MORE CENT SIGN ON KEYBOARDS 28 cents a pound.) (I used an empty envelope, I always gather stuff I think would be lovely to repurpose, then can’t bear modifying them…) I will take your suggestion to heart. (It’s the title of the piece, btw.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like the 2nd. I think the bottom ” fish box”, would make a great individual shadow-box for fishermen. Just a thought.
    Your posts always brighten my day and give me great creative food for thought.


  3. And once the piece goes to its next home, that person curates it, perhaps adding or changing its companions over time and your piece keeps adding to the art entropy in the world.


  4. I liked the first one for its quietness and space. I like the last one for the stories and interest which keeps my eyes moving and finding more to see and feel. If I have to choose, I think I would probably want to ‘have’ the first one, which would allow me to add my own history to the spaces – treasures that have my own story, things found on my own journey. But they are both treasures.


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