Monday, January 10, 2011


Meet the Studio of Memory Jug maker Laurie Beth Zuckerman,

Linda C. Smith, Mosaic Mandalas

Laurie Beth Zuckerman is one of the artists whose studio is featured in Lynne Perrella's book, "Art Making & Studio Spaces."  I've been featuring various artists from that book since I read it last October.  In the chapter on Laurie's studio are many intriguing  images.  Not only that, but Lynne's book itself is sandwiched with beautiful photos of Laurie's work.  The opening flyleaf, rather than being a blank sheet, is a photo that shows Laurie's work, "Green Altar," and the final page image is her work, "Mother of Sorrows Altar."
 The opening photo spread for the chapter on Laurie's studio [pages 144-145] shows an impressive collection of what Laurie calls "Memory Jugs" on her dining table.   Laurie refers to her work as 'memorial artwork.'  From the book, " artwork revolves around making home-altar installations...."
Where some artists use one room of their home as an art studio, and others use a detached building or offsite location for a studio, Laurie uses her entire home.  Lynne Perrella starts out the chapter by saying, "...In direct opposition to the idea that a studio should be behind closed doors, in a designated specific area, Laurie Zuckerman's philosophy is to consider her entire house as her studio...."
In answer to some questions I sent her, Laurie reinforced that by saying:
  • The most noteworthy aspect of my studio is that my entire house is my studio. I create in every room of the two-story house. My work is large, my house is small, so I maximize every inch of it as workspace, showspace, storage.
I'm intrigued by assemblage artists.  To me the main difference between a collage artist and an assemblage artist is the dimensionality.  Laurie Zuckerman's works, especially the altars and Memory jugs are fully realized 3-d pieces.   Page 148 in the book has a full page photo of a stunning work titled "Mother of Pearl Memory Jug."   To fully appreciate this piece you would have to walk all the way around it.  It is a 360-degree assemblage of carefully chosen pieces, bits and bobs to express a vision.
 I share some studio values with this artist.  Lynne writes that Laurie "...prefers the solitude and convenience of working at home..." and that she has a "...'clean space,' a light-filled office with a desk, computer, and a view...She shares this space with her cat and two parrots, and she's placed a well-loved, green antique rocker in the office, so her husband 'can sit and visit.'...."  Me? My studio
is one room that includes my art working area and my own version of clean space for my desk and computer.  And, like Laurie, I share my space with a parrot.  In my case George, who has his own play stand.  When my husband visits my work space he can sit in one of the two chairs - either the chair to the computer desk or the chair to my drafting comfy old rocker for him!
For Laurie space is a necessary, important issue.  She says, "...'You need space to make things...Space to think. There is never enough space to make new work, view work in progress, or store old work.'...."
On her website, Laurie Beth Zuckerman iconArte, you get a better idea of what is involved with her memorial art offerings: home altars, altar installations, Diá de los Muertos ofrendas, Day of the Dead altars, memory jugs, memory boxes, and forget-me-not tins.
Says Laurie, "...'My entire house is an expression of my artistic creations. Every aspect of my work is made from antiques and vintage possessions I have collected from places I haved lived or traveled.'...." [page 147]
To sum up her studio Laurie told me:
  • I would say that “It looks like a house of curiosities. Friends call it ‘the museum’.”
I'm fascinated with Laurie's Memory Jugs.  She has come out with a book that details how to make a Memory Jug or memory vessel [from her website]:
  • MEMORY JUGS Book on CD, by Laurie Zuckerman, is now out in an expanded 2011 edition. Step-by-step illustrated instructions and historical background will guide you in creating your own memory jug. This 208-page "workshop in a book" includes hundreds of color images of antique and vintage memory jugs collected from museums, galleries, private collectors, and auctions; contemporary artists' memory jugs; plus a gallery of Laurie Zuckerman's own eclectic memory jug creations.
  You can learn more - and order one - on her website

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