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Diane Cooper: Seeing Beauty in Life’s Detritus

Genten 403 by Diane Cooper. 12x12x4", cord, wood, canvas, paint
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Genten 403 by Diane Cooper. 12x12x4″, cord, wood, canvas, paint

My love of orange has been aided and abetted by discovering Pinterest.  Pinterest is based on the visual, on images, colors, and occasionally words, but often in artistic typefaces and illuminations.  I started a Pin Board for Orange Tuesdays, and the amount of orange flowing by has been awesome.    One of my favorite pinners is Sondra at Contemporary Cloth, and she pinned a photo of art by Diane Cooper, Genten 403, which reminded me of the medicine bundle I had as a girl.  A friend of my parents helped me make one.  I don’t know how this came about.  It was the 1970’s, in Alberta, where the sacred tradition of the Blackfeet of the Great Plains somehow filtered into my mother’s sewing room.  I remember collecting objects to put in the piece of fabric, and once bundled up, I thought of it often, imagining the contents, longing to open it back up again.  The two items I still remember are a carved ivory earring(which must have lost its mate), a piece of polished red jasper.

Genten 282 by Diane Cooper. 12x12x3", wood, fabric, tape.
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Genten 282 by Diane Cooper. 12x12x3″, wood, fabric, tape.

Diane Cooper is a Chicago artist who makes “Wall Constructions” out of the Genten pieces, which are mosaic-like, as the parts create a new whole.  I am drawn to her artist statement, and philosophy:

Living in Japan, a culture much older than
our own, developed within me a love for the
aged and worn surface. The Japanese aesthetic
has been a major influence on my work.

This work embodies the concept of seeing beauty
in life’s detritus. Materials consisting of used bits
and pieces of everyday life, including wood,
leather, fiber and metal are often used in
the condition in which they are found.

My style of working is intuitive. Each piece takes
Its inspiration from the material with which I have
chosen to work.

In a final bit of delight, when I clicked on Diane Cooper’s contact form, this photo came up of her in her studio, which looks like a playground of art!  Where do you play?  Where do you find beauty?

Diane Cooper at her studio in Chicago.
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Diane Cooper at her studio in Chicago.



  1. May says:

    Ahhh Pinterest! I’ve been pinning a couple of months now and it’s quite addicting. So many great finds, especially in arts and crafts. You have such amazing talent, Margaret! I am enjoying your mosaic creations very much.

  2. Wonderful post, Margaret. What is it about the worn, used, tattered and things with a certain patina that I find so attractive? I’m not sure, but it seems to be part of who I am. Thanks for sharing her work.

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