Altar Party

January 8, 2005, Phoenix, Arizona. Six of us women artists gathered to craft visionary altars at Tracy Dove’s house. Tracy Dove and Kathy Cano-Murillo provided boxes of printed images, old greeting cards, glitter, beads, glass jewels, tile, scrabble letters, miscellaneous small objects and glue. One of Tracy’s friends brought over a stack of cigar boxes to decorate. Shari Elf and I drove in from California for the festivities.

My altar is about a transformation into high gear art manifestation. Summer 2005 I spontaneously began making my blues/jazz CD What Living’s All About, my most exciting project to date.

Shari Elf made a mosaic of a man’s face with scrabble letters saying Nice Man. Last summer she met and began dating her favorite man so far.

Kathy Cano-Murillo’s altar says “Frisky Love” and contains images from Mexican pornographic comic books (“you get them at the carneceria, but you have to ask the butcher” she told us.) No report on the enlivening of her love life, but Tracy says Kathy has been inundated with book and TV deals lately, and looking especially beautiful. She’s been happily married for many years.

Tracy’s choice of image was a mermaid, and her year has been an intense voyage into the oceanic realm of the subconscious, totally transforming her life in ways she never dreamed possible. (That’s one of her paintings behind her.)

Tracy’s niece April’s beautiful altar features a three dimensional snake. Her life, in the past year, has taken many twists and turns through subterranean spaces.

Other visonary art parties I’ve attended: making crowns or tiaras, creating “treasure maps” (flat montages of visionary images), and decorating masks or blown eggs with paint and decoupage. I’ve saved most of what I’ve made at these events; they feel powerful to me.