Homegrown will be a weekly post highlighting our Holiday Arts Tour artists. NCLAC would like to celebrate the artists living in our own backyard whether they were raised here, relocated, or just like to visit enough to call Ruston home. This years Holiday Arts Tour will be November 18, 19, & 20th. Watch here for more information and tour locations. This weeks artist is Christiane Drieling a Ruston resident since 2007.
I was born and grew up in Germany, and lived there for the most part of my life. As a child and teenager I loved making tiny dollhouses out of matchboxes, making tiny clay creatures and drawing pointilist style miniatures with ink. Later I worked a lot with paper mache making folktale characters and wrote accompanying stories and poems. After my first and unfulfilling professional career in banking (1983-1990) I went back to school to earn my Masters in sociology and German literature, I also took a few arts classes in sculpture (1990-1997). I worked as a writer and editor for a special magazine (1999-2001) where I enjoyed practicing my writing skills. Because of my husband’s position we moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 2001. There I worked further on my writing and also restarted doing my artwork based on German storytelling themes (“Swirling Swirls”). In 2007, we moved to Ruston, Louisiana. Our son, 4, and our daughter, 2, keep inspiring me as an artist
Throughout my work you will find elements referring to old traditions of playing and storytelling, some of these elements have an intercultural meaning, like the ancient and universal marbles – they carry a playful message everyone understands.
Other elements, like the rambling roses, are rooted in my own culture’s heritage. Being German, I grew up with Sleeping Beauty and other fairytales, with enchanted castles and mysterious woods, with insidious stepmothers and goodhearted dwarfs, omnisciently talking birds and trees, with curses and salvations, yet with the idea that anything can happen.
I never lost the fascination of these fabulous but often crude tales. As a teenager I still loved to stroll in fantasy worlds and to read my family’s well-thumbed fairytale books. Later as a sociologist I kept on dealing with these folk tales which have been told since medieval times. I took a closer look at how they have contributed to our cultural identity and at their cultural message.
Besides all these rather rational reflections, fairlytales still have this emotional and very personal meaning to me: They remind me of my beloved Grandmother who had this velvety bedspread, and velvet always reminds me of the noble capes of the queens and kings back then. That is why, by the way, I love to use rich fabrics and royal colors in my creations.
After all, some of my pieces certainly can be understood as simple tokens of old German traditions, especially when it comes to the intuitive design of my fairytale birdhouse and Kasper hand puppets. However, I also like to create a counterpart to this scenery of continuous heritage. Therefore I brought in "Swirling Swirls", for me being symbols of motion and change, thus connections between the fantasies of the past and the imaginations of the presence.
NCLAC: What, if anything, do you hope others get from your art?
Drieling: Lots of smiles.
NCLAC: Who were your childhood heroes?
Drieling: Pippi Longstocking and my grandmother
NCLAC: How does creating art make you feel?
Drieling: It is a necessity, it helps me stay sane and happy. I often think about a certain problem and find a solution while doing my art.