Sacred Journals
by Anne Luther

by Adriana McElwain/CASA
SMALL, TACTICAL, MEDITATIVE BOOKS reminiscent of the eastern traveling shrine, are the center point of Anne Luther's new collection of assemblage work titled Sacred Journals, on view at the Frameworks, Caruso Woods Fine Art Gallery through January. While not a traditional altered book, each piece opens in a book-like manner revealing a collaged interior. The covers are made of metal, wood, or leather, and embellished with an array of hand-made beads, ceramic pieces, or vintage found objects. "Sacred Journals are an invitation to the viewer to bring his r her own experience to the artwork, to dream, think and wonder, to experience the mystery and the magic,
" Anne explained.
The individual works are intended to sit on a table or desk, rather than hang on a wall. These meditative pieces were partly inspired by Anne's interest in spirituality and Zen Buddhism. Rather than hanging the art on a wall, the small tactile object can be held, creating a more intimate relationship with the owner.
Although these journals are not traditional books, they symbolize a recorded journey of growth and self discovery. "I have been writing in a journal since the age of nine," Anne shared. "Later in life it served as a record of my spiritual path to self actualization... It keeps track and helps you remember where you have been.
Anne has been creating assemblage work for the past five years. Although she was an oil painter for many years, she opted for a medium change shortly after moving to Santa Barbara.

Like many other artists in Santa Barbara, Anne came here with a desire to paint landscapes. "I became very frustrated with my work when comparing my landscapes to others," Anne shared. "I saw nothing new, fresh, or different... One of my teachers suggested that I change mediums for a short time." Anne enrolled in a collage class and instantly knew she had found a new passion. "Collage is like painting with paper for me... I lay my paper out like a palette when I create something," she explained.
Since childhood, Anne has been fond of collecting things. She would collect bits and pieces of remnant objects cast away by people... ceramic remains of a shattered doll, broken jewelry, nick-knacks, and trinkets. This early love for collecting led to a career as an antique dealer. Searching through flea markets, garage sales, and street markets, Anne is fascinated by vintage items and the stories they tell of a pervious life. "A lot of what I do is channeled... given to me," the artist explained. "I don't sketch my pieces out. I go into the studio, move the pieces around until the individual items begin to have a relationship."