Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mother Tree Announced

I wrote about the project in my May newsletter and got some nice responses: so far there are volunteers in Washington, Oregon and Tasmania who wish to contribute crocheted strands, a Portland crew is forming for some stitch nights in the fall; and Friends of Trees is interested in promoting the project. I went to a crochet convention here in Portland and purchased a lovely crochet needle made from furniture waste in Vietnam and connected with a group which mentors children through stitching. Oh, and this picture is of me and part of my tree...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grant Proposal

I’ve started thinking more and more of a life-sized paper dress coming to life. In the fall, I wrote a grant proposal to make the piece and exhibit it in a public building in downtown Portland. The proposal really took shape and I felt good about it, and tra-la, it was accepted! Here is a brief synopsis of my proposal: 

Nine years ago, a father walked by me as I was nursing my newborn son at the Portland Japanese Garden and pointed me out to his children, stating: “That is one of the most beautiful things in the world.” As a first-time mother, it meant a lot to me -- that he could see beauty in something I took for granted and even hesitated doing in public. My sculpture “Mother Tree” seeks to visually portray my subsequent reflections about that chance encounter. This sculpture serves as a symbol of the vulnerability, strength and sense of community I feel as a mother: vulnerable as a mother learning how to do something with great responsibility for the first time; strong in the knowledge that we mothers can provide our children with everything they need; and in community knowing that mothers before me have nurtured their children and mothers after me will continue to do so.

Mother Tree

I learned to crochet recently (I learned to knit in Germany when I was 16 and coincidentally, a german friend in Seattle showed me the basics of crochet). When I was working on my film Water Paper Time in 2008, I made some more dress pieces with single crocheted strands falling from the breasts. And I started thinking about my roots, literally, not for the first time but in a more visual way and about how I feel as a mother - strong yet uncertain with constant reminders of my childhood coming and going.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I can’t remember the exact genesis of this project, but a couple of years ago I did an installation called Line Dried, in which I hung wet 2’ x 4’ sheets of paper on a line and let them air dry. I then stitched the washers onto one side of each form, creating thread patterns on the other side. The images resemble constellations, plant forms, fireworks, the big bang, etc. – metaphors for conception, growth, birth, life. I see all of these things as magical and mysterious, and this ties into my fascination with paper and the magical and invisible occurrences which take place throughout the papermaking process. I had been thinking a lot about my childhood and my own motherhood (I have a son, Willam, who is nine and a daughter, Lucah, who is seven).