This is where the visual finds its voice...
"Are you a dancer?"
This question is asked of me quite frequently.
I fall up steps, trip over air and struggle to walk while chewing bubble gum. Coordination and I are not close friends. When I dance it looks a little like there is a bug down my shirt.
No. I am not a dancer.
I am, however, drawn to the magic of moving to music. My favorite dress as a kid had this amazing ruffled skirt. It was similar to those worn by square dancers. It would fly out if I twirled around then cling back to the legs when I stopped (if I didn't fall over first). It felt like flying.
That joy, that freedom is what my sculptures represent. The removal of all obstacles in front of the dream. So all that is left is You...the Dream...and the Dance.
Does my body dance?
But my heart does.
This past June I was thrilled to participate in FestivALL's Capital Street Art Fair in Charleston, WV. The weather was lovely (hot but lovely). Vendors and customers were welcoming and delightful. I was torn between my desire to "people watch" and the necessity of tending my booth. Occasionally, I was able to do both at once.
At one point a young family stood in front of my table as a youngster had their face painted at the next booth over. The father was holding a not-quite-toddler in his arms. As the boy gazed at something over my head, Dad leaned in whispering in his ear.
I could feel myself and the entire world fade away. In that breath all that existed were the two of them.
It. Was. Beautiful.
With permission, I snapped a quick photo for reference. The true magic was already etched deep within the soul. My only regret is not obtaining contact information.
The name of this piece has eluded me and I finally settled on "Thru His Eyes." Although, it does not quite seem to capture what I witnessed. A child seeing the world and a father seeing only his child. Each in awe of what they behold.
Magic is all around us...sometimes we are lucky enough to see it.
"Thru His Eyes"
Epoxy Resin Claywith Gold Patina
on Padauk wood base.
Base LxWxH: 4x4x2.5 inches
Total LxWxH: 4x4x17.75 inches
Most of my work is about inner strength, encouragement and hope. However, there are times that each of us struggle regardless of how hard we try.
Recently, a "Mom" moment hit me hard. It validated everything my child has had to deal with in his life. Along, with the victory of "Yes, I knew it!" there has been anger and sadness. So much could have been avoided if only...
I knew that applying forgiveness and love to my own heart was the only way to overcome the anger and guilt.
In that moment "This Mother's Heart" took shape.
Made of epoxy clay, mixed media and pieces of my own heart. Not available for sale.
Her story is my story.
Each time their heart breaks, yours breaks with them.
The world knocks them down and you pick them up.
A mother of a child who struggles does more than bandage skinned knees and bruised hearts.
She will argue with school administration, beg teachers to understand, arrange play dates with whomever is willing, disagree with doctors and walk away from adversaries who masquerade as friends. All while nurturing and loving a child who is overwhelmed by touch, emotions, and wrought with anger but whose own heart is filled with compassion for others.
This mother becomes softer, gentler but must maintain a steel resolve. Those cursed with "normal" children will never understand how she can gather up the pieces and manage to stitch together joy, love and acceptance.
Others may confuse her child's successes as disappointments but this mother knows how to celebrate even in the midst of pain.
Love for her child is the only thing stronger than...
"This Mother's Heart"
Everyone has that place that makes them happy...
For my husband it is Harbor Freight and my son would happily move into Game Stop if we let him. Me? I get the warm and fuzzies for Wood Crafters.
This is the place where my sculptures begin. Usually, there is an idea that has me searching for the perfect base. This weekend it was the other way around. I was rummaging through every gorgeous piece of wood in the show room when I spotted them. Two small fragments of board; each with a large knot piercing a hole through the wood.
The grain was marred and rustic. Rough bark lined the inside of the knots.
They. Were. Beautiful.
I picked them up, examining each fabulous flaw. Turning them over I read the label. "Locust: Honey" Now, I have no idea what honey locust is but I did know these pieces were going home with me.
I've said before that pieces speak to me. It is usually as a sculpture or painting is coming to life. I can hear it whisper to me. I looked at my growing stack of wood. Ebony, marbled hardwood, padauk...each beautiful and perfect. Not even a mumble. Glancing again at the rough cut honey locust, they screamed.
That's right. These ragged pieces of wood have asked...no.... demanded to be little boys fishing.
As I work to finish my current pieces, I can hear the boys (as I now refer to them) calling my name. Impatient little scraps of wood. Tonight I will stock up on sealant and soon, very soon, these boys will get the attention they are craving.
I'm a bit nervous. I've never sculpted boys before. Not sure how they will turn out.
What I do know is that my happy place has never made me happier.