Various Essays & Reactive Writing

I think it is hard to predict which direction I might take going forward.

I have enjoyed experimenting with recycled objects and single shape sculptures but do not see that as the primary form of my work. It is the intricacies of the many pieces and shapes that will continue to excite me in creating new designs.

It is interesting to combine the old with the new technique and materials. What was headed for the garbage or recycle bin has become an integral source of material.

beyond junk

reuse and recycle what was junk,

that has been transformed into art.

containers now hold and support,

objects that are different than the original use.

the function is now sculpture materials,

not packing for food or medicine.

pieces all of the same unit,

just as a contrast to my familiar style.

multiple sculptures created without a solid base,

another departure from familiarity.

it is not set in stone but having a certain look

gives me a sense that the form is complete.

realizing empty space permits the viewer

to see more of a composition,

and still create pieces that i am comfortable with

is an on going and developing process.

it is ever changing just as the many

shapes, sizes, colors and materials i use.

giving a different function to an empty can

or plastic bottle makes an interesting composition.

bottle caps, wine corks, plastic lids, discarded screws

and various wooden pieces

all assembled with hot glue

take on a new kind of use that is my art.

my sculpture often seems to be a hodgepodge of

a multitude of kinds of scraps and not typical material.

this exploration of recycled material has been a catalyst

for new direction not a completely different style .

my work will continue to be detailed in organization,

but may allow light to show the new side of me.

David Stahl


A Special Place

Meaning and solace often come from within, but a special place can foster its significance and purpose in one’s life. My life is busy and interesting with college, but in the back of my mind I patiently wait for the moment that I can start to make my way to a place that has come to symbolize so much for me. I look for cues to see if I may have the time or opportunity to take the journey downtown towards Main Street and Centre Avenue to an old, but majestic building where I can be free to express myself through the medium which is the most meaningful to me.

Once there, I step into the brightly colored lobby. The first thing that comes to my attention is the artist directory to the left and I smile as I see my name on the listing. I saunter up the dusty stairs, filled with a sense of anticipation and excitement. My heart begins to race with the knowledge that I will soon be in my place of creativity and self-expression. Walking quickly down the hall I stop at the door, put the key in the lock, throw open the door and step inside. Closing the door behind me, I take a deep breath and enter my sculpture studio. Almost immediately my body begins to relax and I am overcome with a sense of calmness.

What is it about my studio that affects me in such a way? It could be that here I have the freedom to express myself and communicate thoughts in a way that speaks without the burden of words. Here, I can be creative and allow my imagination to run wild. Here, I feel a unique sense of independence.

The sun streams brightly through the windows, welcoming me with its warmth. The smell of spray paint lingers in the air. I pause for a moment and proudly survey the room which is brimming with my finished projects, their many colors dancing on the shelves. Ideas are swirling around in my head like spinning tops as I choose and lay out the various materials needed to begin my next sculpture. Getting everything I need arranged on my table is like organizing the proper instruments for a delicate operation. The containers of different materials are retrieved from nearby shelves, and then I neatly arrange them in front of me. In my selection process I imagine the feel of the smooth glass objects, the sharp edges of the metal put my hand in the container and select my first object to glue. My whole body can sense the texture my hands are feeling and I become totally absorbed in the creation. The connection between my solace and creativity fuses into one entity. I feel the project begin to come alive as if it is an infant coming into the world. Each creation is unique but they all express who I am.

One by one I strategically glue each element into place using my hot glue gun. The minutes turn into hours before I notice that the current project is nearing completion. Once again, before I know it, the vision that had previously existed only in my mind, sits on the table in front of me awaiting my approval. I survey this latest piece and feel a sense of both pride and relief. Satisfied with what I have accomplished, I stop, put the sculpture aside to be painted another day, and begin the process of cleaning up. I gather up the various boxes and return them to their appointed places on the shelves. I am physically tired yet energized at the same time. I leave with a unique sense of fulfillment.

We all need to find our own outlet to help us deal with the complexities of the world we live in, and to enhance our lives. For some, like me, it might be a special place. Others may find peace in different ways, whether for example getting lost in the lyrics of a favorite song, tapping the keyboard of an old piano, being held in the warm embrace of a loved one, reading the prose of a favorite poet, or taking a long drive without having a particular destination in mind.

People can sometimes recognize themselves in the work of others. At times I find the best of myself within my own artwork. The sometimes long path to serenity is well worth the journey once you figure out which road to take. I am very grateful to have my studio for all that it represents to me, a place of solace, a place of creativity, a place to be myself.

David Stahl