The tall wall as you walk in: I am exhibiting the pieces here as you see them as enter the space.
Spirit Tree "Quilt" (with Detail), 2000. 123" x 80".
Raw silk and metallic threads. Lace, fabric, beads, buttons, shells, earrings, brooches.
One day in the woods, I came upon a dead tree with its roots still in the earth but its upper branches bare and broken, reaching to the sky. This felt to me like a Spirit Tree.
Years later, my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. When I visited her one day, she told me to take whatever I wanted from her storage space. Her art was weaving fabric that she made into unusual hats that she adorned with all kinds of things.
Before she died, a few of us gathered on Cape Cod for a living wake. There, she told me a friend called her Tree Nymph, and that in Switzerland — where she’d gone for treatment — Tree Nymph, or Tree Spirit, translated to “Dava.”
I walked down to the beach that day and made an enormous drawing in the sand of my friend as Tree Spirit, just as I’d seen the tree in the woods. At home, I began to make this. I painted with fabric on raw silk, using her leftover hat linings, beads, shells, fasteners, bones, earrings, brooches, and buttons. The torso and head are a piece of lace from her Aunt Betsy.
In the last months of Barbara’s life, she was the Spirit Tree, still of the earth but on her way to the spirit world. Her greatest gift to me was letting me know that I was capable of a friendship like this.
Healing What Was Done to Us
(with Detail), 2014. 8' x 46".
Watercolor crayon, paper, stickers, glitter, earth, acrylic. This piece took two years to finish. It started out as a simple body tracing with jeans and sweatshirt, created at the Art Garden during the final weeks of the Women's Nourishment for the Soul workshop in Shelburne Falls, MA.
Self-Portrait as High Priestess. 91" x 76"
Barely begun mixed media piece. Acrylic and fabric.
More than ten years ago, I began to envision a self-portrait as a high priestess. I wanted to commemorate all the healing I had done and communicate the light and joy that have come to fill my life. Finally, in December of 2016, I carved out time to begin working on it.
Again, I would “paint with fabric.” But for this, I also wanted to use actual paint for her face and hands, even though it had been years since I had painted realistically. Over time I collected cloth, shawls, and scarves. I bought fabric for the dark in the background and for the light that will surround her, coming out of the dark. I will ornament this piece, using what is leftover from my friend, as in the Spirit Tree piece below. I will include a piece of my mother’s dress. (The light blue fringe is used as an idea here. I don't know yet what I will use to make her blue or purple hair!)
I chose to display this unfinished piece in the show to demonstrate the reality of life, that sometimes we cannot immediately answer the call within. But, if we hold on and trust, we will find the way to what we truly need. And when we do, it will be exactly right.