Category Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown Retablos

Our Lady of Notions

Earlier tonight, I was surprised to see Kelley Farrell’s blog entitled “Pin Cushions Look Like Tomatoes” because the pin cushion she pictures is exactly the pin cushion I developed an entire large retablo around a number of years ago. Below is my retablo and the story it develops.

This retablo, which includes a number of pieces of embroidery as well as tatting by my grandmother, also is an homage to the fine handiwork of so many Mexican artisans. In Michocan, there is a church where on the altar, an image of the Virgin Mary is surrounded by elaborate aprons sewn by the women of the church whereas the statue of Christ is surrounded by men’s serapes. I had a woman make the miniature aprons and then I decorated them myself. The humor of the piece, however, comes from the pincushion on the top. Two of the figures have cut themselves free from the pincushion.  The one in blue has almost completed its escape, using the string from one of the spools as a rope. A second figure clad in red is going over the side, using a needle it has taken as a weapon to threaten a third who is cutting itself free with tiny silver scissors to come try to stop them. That scenario is depicted below. Various antique sewing supplies including an old pattern marker are included in the retablo. If you want to see details, click on the first photo below and then the right hand arrows to enlarge all of the photos.

 

 

HERE is Kelley’s story about the same pin cushion!

If you are interested in learning more about my retablos and seeing others, go here: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2017/08/27/paying-homage/

The Conveyor of the Moon

The moon, a rabbit, a bottle of tequila and a simple Mayan figure of a woman convey to us many of  the legends of Mexico as well as one theory about her naming.  Eight years ago I created a retablo that conveyed this message, both visually and in a story that resides in a chamber within the box the retablo sits upon.  I sold that retablo years ago, but luckily I have this photo and these words that describe it. In case you missed it last time, here it is again: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/11/the-rabbits-navel/

 

The prompt today was conveyor.

Passing Time

IMG_1162Detra de las Puertas Cerradas (Behind Closed Doors) One’s own living room can become entirely too comfortable. Shutting the drawers to the past may open the doors to the future. (retablo by Judy Dykstra-Brown)

Passing Time

The means of our escape from life are numerous and various,
and there is nothing wrong with getting thrills that are vicarious.
Movies, sports and novels are fine for entertainment;
but if you’re only viewing, there is no sense of attainment.

Looking back on your own life, like opening a book,
isn’t really living life, but just having a look
at the life of someone who you no longer are.
You aren’t really living life by viewing from afar.

Escape is necessary and our choices for it vast,
but there’s no satisfaction in living in the past.
Life is to be spent, not to be hoarded and rethought.
Better just to live the rest of the time that you’ve got!

Fond memories are something that I’m sure none of us lack,
but there’s no time of life to which I’m yearning to go back.
The only thing to do with time’s to live it and to love it.
I have no wish to turn back time, I only want more of it!

The Prompt: If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/if-i-could-turn-back-time/

Retablo of the Patron Saint of Poets and Musicians

Santa Cecilia is the patron saint of poets and musicians.  This retablo evolved before I did any research on her at all.  I had bought this wonderful oil painting in Peru and just let my mind go in building a retablo for her.  I had no idea who she was–thought she was just another madonna.  When I had finished, an artist friend, Eduardo Xilonsochitl, was at my house painting and building a sculpture for me by the pool and he saw her and said, “Ah, Santa Cecilia.”  I then Googled Saint Cecilia and discovered that all of the symbolism of the retablo did in fact tell the story of her life.  Some things just want to belong together and so it was with her portrait .

IMG_5362
16″ X 16: Santa Cecilia: Mixed Media Retablo, Wood, Metal, paper, dried flowers and leaves, Gold Leaf, Feather, Bone, Abelone, Antique Toy Rocking  Chair, Oil Painting on Canvas, Acrylic paint. 16″ X 16. Click on picture to see details.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/mad-as-a-hatter/