Saturday, April 28, 2007

the eyebrows...

Anyone else been watching the VIP Pass documentaries after Rockwiz on SBS on Saturday nights? Let's ignore for a moment that a review I read the other day said that the two shows were essential viewing for "music tragics". Saturday night is now favourite tv viewing night in our house.

Each week covers an important era in music or the making of a famous album, and last week it was Frank Zappa. Readers of this blog may have noticed that I'm a bit of a fan of a good Zappa quote, but despite one of my friends who is a huge fan urging me to check out his music, I must admit that I'm only familiar with a few songs - and they are pretty weird to say the least.

Something mentioned in the show really got me thinking. I've quoted Frank saying this before:

The computer can't tell you the emotional story.
It can give you the exact mathematical design,
but what's missing is the eyebrows.

What I didn't know is that the eyebrows was one of Zappa's favourite terms - he used it to describe adding that special touch to a piece of music - adding the eyebrows became a well-known concept with the musicians who worked with him.

It got me to wondering (and I do have a point here! ) - every now and then when I finish a scrapbooking page or collage, I feel like I have expressed the emotion I wanted to successfully. It doesn't happen every time, but when it does the page feels so much more important to me, more poignant somehow. And it has nothing to do with fancy new products or using great photos. It has nothing to do with whether other people like it or not. Just purely that the page somehow has expression or emotion attached to it that is personally significant. It communicates something effectively. It has eyebrows!

Just sat here trying to think of an example layout, and I think this might be one:

That's my Nana, holding Ruby when she was a baby. Nana passed away on Ruby's 4th birthday, when Nic was 6 and Max was 1. My children don't have a lot of memories of Nana, so their memories are made up of what I can tell them about her. I used the lyrics of a waifs song - this song always makes me cry.

when I was a child

I didn't see her much

she passed away before I was five

I was so young that it barely

affected my life

then one day when I asked

you told me she was magnificent

all that I had was

your word and a photograph

but one look in your eyes

told me all that I needed to know

I stitched around the outside of the page to create a pocket, and inside I put some documents - the eulogies that my five uncles read at the funeral, and some information about Nana's life.

I know that this layout is fairly plain in style and design, and the products are probably quite dated now in scrapbooking world terms (more than 6 mths old ;-), but it's special to me and I know that it will be meaningful to my family. My younger sister told me that when she first saw this page in my online gallery, she printed it out to keep a copy herself.

Another page which to me has eyebrows, but no particular or important family history or record keeping attached to it is this one, just a feeling...

or sometimes the eyebrows might be a sense of place, or magic, or something else that I can't explain (not a scrapbook page, but you get the idea):

The thing about Zappa's music, is that it was more than a little bit strange and didn't receive much airplay as it needed quite a lot of censoring. Music or art, I think I'd rather have the eyebrows than something popular with no emotion attached any day. It's something that makes scrapbooking such a unique and personal craft - and almost impossible to critique.

Now that I have all that philosophizing out of my system - the program is now up for the Scrapbook Expo in Brisbane - I'll be teaching two different classes each day. You can read about them here. I'll be posting some sneak peeks soon!


Nic Finlayson said...

From one music tragic to another, i couldn't agree more - lol

cherill w said...

Just delurking. I loved the story about eyebrows. And I loved your Nana's story too. Now I'm hung up looking for the eyebrows in my own work. Thanks

cherill w