The Most Marvelous of Items

Sometimes, you step out for coffee and cake and you end up in Narnia.

Last night, a family friend invited me over to meet her houseguest, a conceptual artist visiting from Italy. I thought I’d shmooze a little, have some dessert. I didn’t realize I would be KNOCKED SENSELESS BY THE AMAZING.

Angela Lorenz is an artist and author who creates completely mind-blowing works of the exquisite and engaging. They’re whimsical, but they’re also challenging, poignant, and occasionally creepy in the best of ways. Her work is exhibited in museums around the world and taught in universities.  (She’s also just totally charming and lovely to chat with.)

After bowling me over with her incredible creations, she gifted me with this truly Marvelous Item:

This...

becomes this...

and opens up to this...

Those prints are not reproductions. They’re originals. She MADE them.

And the beautiful paintings on the other side…

I'm quite smitten with this fish.

She also wrote the 900-word rhyming poem that accompanies the images. Is there anything she can’t do?

There’s actually a lot more going on here than mere loveliness and sublime craftsmanship, but my brainpan is too shallow to do it justice. To really get a feel for the meaning of the work and its iconography (and to see more of Angela’s work), click here.

She also showed me a bento box of wordplay, faux graham crackers loaded with filthy latin poetry and accompanied by a compressed marshmallow made of paper that bears the face of Sir Thomas More burned into its surface (S’more, geddit?). Then there was Bacon’s Bits of Broken Knowledge— a decidedly unique take on Sir Francis Bacon’s worldview.

You can take out the leather “bacon” continents, read Bacon quotes with the magnifying lens built into the lid, and circumnavigate the globe with the compass in the jar’s base. Now that’s the tangy taste of Natural Philosophy!

Oh sigh, I am officially an A Lorenz fangirl. She said I could visit her studio in Bologna. Maybe I should book my flight right now.

Before I sign off, I also want to give a shout to Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop, a truly magical place for young readers. I dropped by yesterday and had a wonderful time chatting with some fellow authors and the welcoming staff. Even if you’re not in the area, their site has lots of great gift-giving ideas for the holidays. (By the way, the town of La Verne? Surprisingly charming. Craftsman houses everywhere! I’m a bit embarrassed by how little I know about the world just outside of Los Angeles.)

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Filed under Marvelous items, Writing

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