I love this word–Ekphrasis. It combines two of my artistic passions- art and writing. Ekphrasis is a graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times in Greece, Ekphrasis was often expanded to refer to a description of any thing, person, or experience. Now that might be interesting too. When the call went out for submissions for Ekphrasis II in Montclair New Jersey, I thought it was worth a look. Write about how a work of art appealed, stimulated, stuck me? I could do that.
I skimmed the artwork of accepted pieces–interesting, dramatic, serene, black and white, colorful…Whoa, what’s this? A blaze of colors, splashes, daubs, almost a coating melting over a simple object of a hammer. And Laura Lawrence’s watercolor entitled “NY Magazine Hammer” evoked a long forgotten memory.
Here’s my submission which will be exhibited next to “The Hammer” at the Montclair Library on S. Fullerton Ave. in Montclair during the month of September. Go for a look. See what descriptions come to mind for you.
When I graduated from college in 1969 my Dad gave me an unusual graduation gift. “You’ve got a degree, you’ve got a good job as a teacher, but you need other things to take care of yourself.” And he presented me with an old orange metal toolbox. The foldout top level had compartments for nails, screws, nuts and bolts, and a bottom level with two screwdrivers, a Phillips and slot head, pliers, an awl, and a beat-up old hammer. Of all the gifts that I got through the years for new apartments and new homes, that toolbox has traveled with me and served me well. The hammer best of all.
The hammer is now an old friend. It’s got a handle covered with old burlap, a nicked metal claw and head. The whole thing is paint-speckled. Not attractive, not pink or rainbow-colored like they make them now. But it brought color and beauty into my home by helping me hang the autumn painting from Vermont, the gold-framed mirror that was my Mother’s, the Indian wall hangings, the peace pennant and more.
All that color and beauty brought to me via an old nicked hammer.