Monday, August 29, 2011

Altered Art and Getting to Know My Grandmother; Born 1860!!

I was introduced to the concept of altered art when I was leafing through a Somerest Magazine at my friend Stacy's house.  I was struck by the intense beauty of many of the projects and asked to borrow the magazine.  Of course I fell in love, that was probably 3 years ago.  I am sad to say that this is my first altered art project, and I am afraid by some standards it is pretty tame.  You can definitely see my scrapbooking roots here. 

I used a miserable antique album that I got at an antique show.  It had seen better days and seemed to be the perfect vehicle for this concept.
My grandmother Ida Alice Dorris (maiden name) was my mother's maternal grandmother.  She was an amazing person, who did what she had to do, because in the late 1800's that is just what you did



Here we see the 'before' cover on the left and the 'after' cover on the right.
This is the title page, with a portrait of my grandmother at 15 when she married.  You can see that I let the gold leaf and flower pattern remain as the background on many of the pages.

On the left of this double spread is a poem that I wrote about my grandmother, based on a phrase I had read in her daughter's journal.  "... and mother went out nursing." - Estella Frisbey

 My Grandmother named 9 of the children by her first husband in alphabetic order.  They were some seriously highfalutin names too.  You can see the red disks with the initials of each child, as I dedicate a page to each.  Well, other than my own grandmother, above left, who gets a double spread of her own.
Here are more pages of my grandmother's alphabetized siblings.

These are their names:  Artesian Bloomfield, Caffel Dorris, Estella Florence, Golden Horatio, Imperial Jesse, Kalla Lily, Mira Nora, Onyx Paul, and Q Royal.  Because her tenth child was born just three months before his father died, she named him for his father.  I have always wondered if he was actually given a name like Siberius Theoloneous, or something and then she changed it when she lost her husband ....

She was married four times.  Her first husband was 23 year older than her, her second was just 6 years older, her third husband was 20 years older than her, and her fourth husband, shown above with her in their old age, was 23 years younger than her. Here is one of the four poems that I wrote about different aspects of her life.

Ida Alice Dorris Frisbey Ross Nielsen Ogden
By her gg granddaughter P. Perkins
My dearest Gram I never knew; though history tells your tale,
I've learned to love and to admire the life you lived so well.
With difficulties so beset, another would be broken
Still others anger would consume; Some failure would betoken.
And yet you did the brave things; Though babes died at your breast
You never set your tools aside; But gave the world your best.
w’dowed not once, nor twice, but thrice; You never threw it in,
You loved your dozen children and you served your fellow men.
You gave your all ne’r resting, until your all was done
E’en carrying your neighbors until the fray was won
Then lately came life’s autumn; with a partner oh so true,
because this gentle husband would be taking care of you.

This project was so fun.  I relied on a few stories my mother had told me about her, asked my sisters what they had heard, looked on line and found lots of cold stats, wrote some poetry about situations she dealt with in her life and then happily found a 6 line paragraph that my mother had tucked away in her own writings that answered some questions that the cold stats had brought to mind.  Like, "How did grandma meet, and why did she marry a man so much younger in her old age?"  My mother said that she had gone to keep house for the 40 something widower and his two teenage sons.  He had fallen in love with her and had begged her to marry him.  She was very hesitant because he was so much younger than she, when they married he was 50 and she was 73.  They were married for 14 years when she passed away at the age of 87.

Doing this project has been a wonderful journey and now I want to do one for other wonderful female relatives.

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