“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope…and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”
— Walt Disney
I embrace all of the senses with seemingly reckless abandon. I love inhaling the smell of a ripe juicy peach; the sensual feel of licking a chocolate ice cream cone, flicking my tongue to catch the luscious creamy drips; the thrill of venturing into a candy shop and viewing all the bins of glistening, rainbow-colored candies. And even better, the challenge of selecting a sugar and savoring the taste of each unique morsel of sugary sweetness. I live in a world that is spun of pink cotton candy and colored golden, like freshly tapped maple syrup.
I invite you to share my world of sensory delights. Although I must admit, I do have a twist to my madness. It is not possible for me to choose between all these wonderful things.
I WANT EVERYTHING.
Rather than eliminating anything, I will put all of these senses into a blender and experience the results.
So I ask. Will having it all erase the amazement and pleasure of the one individual unique sense? Or will I create a mixture that is virtually impossible to decipher?
Remember the color wheel. If you take all the primary and secondary colors and blend them together, the results are, according to Google, “A nasty and dirty, obscure, BROWN.”
Memories at 10
I remember when I was about 10 years old, my favorite activity was to draw and color. I had this humongous box of Crayolas — they had over 100 colors, even the metallic ones. I adored almost all of the colors, with fuchsia being my favorite and brown my least favorite.
On Saturday mornings, a group of my very best girlfriends and I would all walk to Vivian Siegel’s house. We would all lay on our stomachs on her itchy, baby blue, wall-to-wall carpet and draw. We had all brought coloring books, plain paper, and our crayons. Usually after about 15 minutes of quiet concentration, someone, usually Gloria Goldberg, would exclaim with a pouty mouth, “look at mine, isn’t it terrible?” Then each girl in turn would exclaim in her very best pouty, whiny, 10-year-old voices the exact same thing.
Of course we all said to one another, “oh no, yours is wonderful.” I remember thinking, “gee, I really like my drawing, and I think mine is really good. Why did all the other girls say that they did not like theirs? Was it to just get attention and adulations from the others?”
To this day I think about that question.
Bubble gum and the ‘Tramp’
I felt strongly that I should be allowed to wear lipstick to school every day; after all, next year was junior high school. So my best friend Gloria and I went to the five and dime store and I purchased two lipsticks. They cost 99 cents for the two and they were Max Factor, so that was a real bargain. I selected two very different colors — one for school and one for the Saturday afternoon double feature. The colors were “Bazooka Bubble Gum Pink” and a deep, crimson red called (are you ready for this?) “The Lady is a Tramp.” It’s true, I promise.
Gloria and I would walk to the bus and put the luscious tubes of creamy color on our lips. We stored them in Gloria’s book bag because my parents were snoops.
On the bus ride home, I would wipe my lipstick off before going into my house. One day I was talking so much that I forgot to wipe my mouth. My mother saw my face as I walked through the door — first she screamed, and then she called my father at work.
That night, my father searched my entire room, going through all my drawers and desk as he looked for the lipstick. Remember, Gloria always kept them so none were found.
I was not punished … at least not this time!
The Color of Orange
That same year right before Thanksgiving, I decided I needed color on my pale face. Gloria was going to Florida to see her grandma.
I purchased a bottle of “man-tan” from the five and dime. That store really liked me because I was always buying something. It was a clear liquid and the directions said to apply it to your face every two hours and, after three applications, I would supposedly wake up looking like a “Bronzed Goddess.”
After my bath I applied the first application (note: I forgot about the part about washing my hands after using it). I woke up twice during the night to re-apply. When I got up the next morning, the first thing I noticed were my hands — they were bright orange.
Not the color of an eating orange, but NEON ORANGE.
I raced to the bathroom before my parents could see me. Yikes, my face, part of my neck, one ear and some strands of my hair were also orange. I could not face them.
I ran over to Gloria’s to wait for the bus. Some of the boys teased me, but the girls thought it was sexy.
Still, it was going to be worth the punishment I would receive that night. My mother screamed again when I came home, and she directly called my father, who bestowed the punishment of staying in the house for the entire holiday weekend.
To top if off, I had to practice playing piano an extra hour a day.
Note: Many years later, after a plethora of these stunts, before my mother screamed and telephoned my father, she called me a “brazen Hussy.”
‘American Style’ magazine
Laney Oxman was featured in the Fall 2001 issue of American Style magazine. Here are a few passages from the story, written by Ruth Palombo Weiss:
As far back as she can remember, Laney says she’s had a crayon in her hand. “I did a mural on the lobby wall of our Southeast Washington apartment when I was 4,” she recalls, and although she was roundly scolded by a neighbor for that particular achievement, her father understood. He nurtured her artistic ambitions by painting one wall of her room with blackboard paint and handing her colored chalks. “I had an 8-foot wall to decorate any way I wanted.”
Long recognized for creating distinctive ceramic dinnerware, goblets, platters and furniture constructions decorated with languorously seductive women in revealing bustiers, Laney admits there was a downside to her commercial success. “I had no time to enjoy what I was doing,” she says. “I had more orders than I could fill. By 1998, I had done everything I felt passionate about doing in clay. My pieces were really big, but what continued to sell were beautiful little teacups.”
So she decided to change gears and take up a new medium — glass.
Because she was already adept at making molds for her clay work, Laney opted to concentrate on casting glass. “I was making silicon molds out of everything I could find — peppers, corn, junked baby dolls, old Avon bottles.” Next, she moved onto sculpting clay, then making a mold of the sculptures. After the mold is successfully kiln dried, she uses the lost wax method to create cast glass pieces.
She finds working with glass even more demanding than clay. “Glass is a totally unforgiving medium,” she says. “Every mold I make has different properties, and every kind of glass I use also has different properties.”
“I don’t think there are any magic secrets,” she concludes, “just a lot of hard work and firm dedication to my craft.”