Sunday, June 14, 2009
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
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.
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).