Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Waltham Children's Hospital Commission

May 2011

                                         "Two Horses and Their Friends"
                                                          30" x 48"
                                          Handmade, hand stamped papers,
                                          wall paper, riveted anodized
                                          aluminum, newspaper, paperclips,
     At the beginning of April 2011, I was commissioned to create two pieces, a large fish clock and a 30"x 48" landscape, for the Children's Hospital in Waltham, Massachusetts, and had to take a short break from The Time Project.  The pieces were commissioned for the newly renovated wings of the hospital, which won't be complete until August of this year.  The requirements for the large piece were that it focus on citrus colors, like yellows, greens, and oranges; that it include horses, figures, cats, dogs, birds, and fish, which I added; and that it include some recycle elements.  I added recycled newspaper articles appropriate for children, paperclips, other recycled papers, and recycled house flashing.  Otherwise it could be whatever I wanted it to be.  It was challenging to switch from the elements I've been exploring in the Time Project pieces and return to working with riveted metals.  It was challenging too, to be limited to a focus on those particular colors, and to find ways to give the piece dimensionality.  The image above was taken in the studio before framing, and will be framed by an acrylic "box" before installation. Although it appears flat in the photo, many of the elements are 1/4"- 1/2" in relief, giving it a 3-D effect.  I used five different adhesives, and five different kinds of papers, most of them laminated on house flashing metal.  Experimenting with different adhesives took a lot of time and I logged in many an all-nighter to finish the piece on time.  I was aided by my twelve year old friend, Thalia, who gave great feedback and support, as did Chet, Abby, Will, and Ben Fenton.  Thanks to Wendy Ellertson for her support and assistance in transporting the piece. 
     It was fun and a pleasure to create something that many children will see and enjoy for years to come at the hospital.  I hope they discover new things each time they visit the piece.
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Thank you.

Memory: Strength and Fragility #3

"The Grandmother I Never Knew"
  14"x 30"x 12"
  Dowels, twings, wire mesh,   photographs, threads, acrylics

April 2011

     This is the time of  year when I remember a lot of things about both my mother, who died in February, 1992 and my father, who died in March, 1983.  In rummaging through old pictures after my mother passed away, I came upon two of her mother.  One of them I had seen before, and it showed a vivacious woman in her thirties, then living in Dallas.  The other, older and somewhat faded, I had never seen.  It showed a young women dressed in a way that most women would have dressed who lived in rural Texas. She was holding a child.  Turning the picture over I was shocked to see my mother and her mother's name scribbled on the back.  I had only ever seen the other picture of Helen, my grandmother, who looked fairly sophisticated for her day, and had never seen any childhood pictures of my mother, partly because the family farmhouse burned, when she was a child, destroying any pictures that might have been there.  I would never have guessed this was my grandmother at eighteen, when she gave birth to my mother, still living in the farm community in which she was born.  What transpired in the fourteen or so years between the pictures, I know a little of, but find myself speculating more about as the years go by.  My mother didn't speak often of her mother, except to say that they were very close, that she married and divorced three times, that she had a younger son, who died at eighteen, that she changed her name from Ella to Helen sometime in her twenties, and that she, herself, passed away from a brain tumor at forty five, a few years before I was born.  My mother always said it made her sad to talk about it.
    This piece grew out of all the things I've wondered about my grandmother. Two of the images on the piece are the two pictures of my grandmother.  The other two impose half the faces of the different images onto the faces of each image, creating an eerie effect, one of mystery and wonder, just as I try to understand this enigmatic person, who loomed large in my mother's life.  The twigs are metaphorically part of the complexity of one's family tree.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    "Haiti - Struggle and Spirit"

March 2011

This sculpture is 25"x 20"x 20", and composed of painted branches and twigs held together and stitched by threads, wire mesh, handmade paper, and bits of printed cardboard.
It is three-sided.  Each side is different.  Two sides are shown below.

When the earthquake hit Haiti last year, I remembered visiting that island when I was twelve, and traveling throughout the Bahamas with my family.  I remembered the cardboard homes along the water, the young men and boys who came out to the boats to dive for change, the beautiful carvings and artwork that would inspire my own artwork later, and the lush, green, countryside. I came away, not only shocked by the poverty I had seen on such a large scale, but also, by the amazing spirit of the people there.  My twelve year old self would probably not have described it that way, but how else to describe the beautiful art, dance, and ritual to be found on the island? 

 I was deeply saddened, like so many others around the globe,  to see so much tragedy unfolding the day the earthquake hit and afterward, but not surprised to see the Haitian people rally in the face of so much destruction, to make the best they could out of what they had.  I made two sides of this piece shortly after that day last year, and felt they were parts of something else.  I felt they should be standing up, not hanging on a wall.  I like, now,  that they lean on each other for strength. 

I remembered the bits of old boxes, and found metal and paper that made up the homes along the shore. I also remembered the clotheslines full of white sheets and clothing drying in the sun.  Last year those sheets, now red as well as white,  covered the dead.  While the painted twigs in this piece are about the blood spilled during the earthquake and throughout Haiti's history, its also about courage and spirit.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011


     Last night was a great night at the Stonewall Institute where The Time Project shared dinner and its first year with over sixty guests.  Eleven 2009-2010 Time Project artists shared some of their work itself and through images projected onto a large screen, through readings and comments, and through a short film, created by Time Project member, Marnie White Stanton, of excerpts taken from two of our meetings.  The film gave a glimpse into the interaction and commentary at the meetings that have meant so much to the Time Project artists.  New 2011 member, Beatrice Greene treated us with a performance of one of her original compositions.  The evening ended with a Q&A.  I always learn something new when my fellow, or should I say "sister" time travelers, talk about their work and the Project.  The questions themselves were very thought provoking. Guest, Sajed Kamal said he thought we should show our presentation to young people and those working with them, to show how it's possible to create community in a deeply meaningful way that connects personally and to larger issues that concern us all.  In the end, we had to push people out the door when our time was up.
     Bravo, women of The Time Project, may 2011 be a rich, creative year and may we continue to share our journey in new ways.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 23, 2010 - Time Project Presentation at Stonewall Institute

Invitation:     March 23, 2010  
                   THE STONEWALL INSTITUTE
                   43 Hawes Street, Brookline
                   5:30-6:00 Schmooze
                   6:00-6:20 Dinner   RSVP -
                         6:20-8 PM - TIME PROJECT PRESENTATION

Images projected from each artist, videos, readings.

Wheelchair Accessible

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Memory - Strength and Fragility #1

February 2011

This sculpture is 4 feet tall, 22 inches wide and 26 inches deep.  It's composed of delicate, thin, painted dowels, painted twigs, and threads that hold the entire structure together.  In some ways it's fragile, in others it feels strong and solid. The myriad of pieces are a challenge to work with since they hold together only with thin, delicate threads.  The strength of the piece emerges only after it is completed, and I found myself holding my breath that it would fly apart at any moment.  In fact, it did fly apart and my first conception of what it would look like, failed completely.  The piece itself, as is so often the case, had a "will" of its own.  It wanted to be off-center. precariously maintaining a balance, or depending on me to find the balance.  Ah yes, that balance between strength and fragility, my ideas, and the "will" of the piece itself, appears yet again - usually, for me, upsetting. and challenging, and always the piece that offers a possible breakthrough and a lot to learn from - kind of like the way memory works.

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Memory - Strength and Fragility #1