I've met someone wonderful people during my bottle cap journey. We've laughed together, traded bottle caps and stories, and marveled at our commonalities. Jan, from Hungry Holler, has been a true joy getting to know. With each email exchange, she has shared glimpses of her work, and each one has astonished me and brought true joy to my mornings. Jan also has a video on YouTube and I strongly encourage you to watch it. She shows how she creates her incredible gourd art pieces. It is my great pleasure to share her story with you.
[Painting by Jan's father, Arthur Mohr, of her husband]
My Dad is an accomplished artist, not professionally. Art has been a part of my life ALL my life. And not just as in painting, sculpture etc. My folks landscaped artfully, built barns and corrals artfully. Purchased art. Stuff they pointed out to us made us think artfully. All that stuff adds up. As a child, I loved to color and make the holiday centerpiece. I don't know what inspires me. I don't know what motivates me. Creating is just something I do. Nothing deep. Nothing profound. I can't help it. I often don't know what the heck I'm doing, but I just blunder in and most of the time, it works out pretty well. It could be I'm master of nothing. Perfection is boring. I love the odd turns creation takes. Sometimes it's irritating. Sometimes it's downright fabulous.
I'm self-taught, with input from family over the years. They know their stuff and I respect their opinions, but when it comes down to it, I pay attention pretty much only to my ownself. I've struggled all my life with two warring hemispheres of my brain: bohemian vs beancounter. My degree is in history. I thought I'd go to law school. The universe thought otherwise, thank goodness. Obsession is partnered with discipline in that if you're driven to do something, you do it. It's the other part of your life that can fall apart. The beancounter in me hasn't permitted that. The mundane is important to me too. I don't like sitting down and doing paperwork, but I dislike the fallout from not doing it even more. My studio can look like a whirlwind went through it, but my kitchen is clean. And I know where everything is in my studio even though it doesn't look like there's order to the chaos.
Jan and I share a beancounter background and that personality conflict. Each time I allow one side to overrule the other, which I often do, the imbalance is palatable and immediate. For me I tend to swing wildly between both and I have great admiration for Jan's ability to stay at the crest of the wave.
Bottle Cap Nirvana
My bottle cap and pull tab work has become an obsession second only to my long-time gourd obsession. I love upcycling/recycling industrial dross. The combination of the organic and the manufactured delights me. Go figger. Hungry Holler Art Center (the grandiose-sounding name for our 6 acre home place, studios, gallery and pasture) is full of industrial stuff created for one purpose, reincarnated as art. There's something to see everywhere you look.
I'm a gardening fiend and again, the juxtaposition of the organic with iron is so appealing. I do believe there's a pattern here! Obsession is critical to creation. If obsession doesn't drive you, you don't get stuff DONE. Living on a small old farm also is very freeing. I can bottle cap my living room walls and know it's an improvement over yucky painted paneling.
This shot (on the left) of Jan's wall showcases Cynthia Reddish's Road to Hell picture. As you know, I love Cynthia's picture and am in awe at Jan's bottle cap wall. In Jan's window surrounds (on the right), the caps look like mosaic glass and I love the raw wood framing. I have visions of a lovely day spent with these incredible artists doing the same treatment on my bar downstairs. Beer, conversation, cement all sounds like a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. I'd always imagined someday putting tile on that ugly old bar...but the bottle caps....WOW, great idea.
You can learn more about Jan and see more of her artwork on the following sites: