What the heck happened???!!!!!
Let me tell you
I was at Penland in North Carolina last July when I got the call that Mom had fallen and was near death. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t make it home in time to see her before she died. In my anxiety ridden state, these words came to me: “Things I Forgot To Tell You.”
I knew someday I would make a piece with that title and I knew it would be made of a bunch of envelopes, a form I had used years before.
Fast forward to the January 2019 meeting with Creatives Exchange when we talked about our upcoming show titled Fractured/Spaces. At first I didn’t know how my work would fit, and then I remembered those words and the idea for the piece. Disparate unspoken words and fractured; it seemed like it would fit just fine.
I then became obsessed with making the envelopes. I cut my own patterns, selected each paper and enlisted help from my sisters with glueing. I added patina to them so they had a little “age” and then I strung them one by one to a rusty chain.
Fast forward again to June 2019 as the show date approached. The piece kept talking to me, “This isn’t right,” it said over and over again. I tweaked, I added some, I took some away, and still I kept hearing “This isn’t right.”
On the day before I was to install the piece, literally the day before, when I should have been packing it up, I gave in to the words, and thought, “Wait a minute! There were no unspoken words between Mom and I.” I had made it home in time to see her. We had spent the past few years together as she struggled with Alzheimers. Nothing was left unsaid.
Only one thing to do, deconstruct it. So I started tearing the envelopes apart. They were all conversations that had come and gone.
I did indeed have a moment or two of complete panic. “What if this is the wrong thing to do? What if I am hearing the wrong words?”
“No sense worrying about it,” I thought. I’m already committed to it and shredded too many envelopes to turn back now. In the end, the piece was better for it. It was what I was really feeling and trying to communicate.
It was the story as it needed to be told.