In the winter of 2022, while on Artist Fellowship expanding my body of work as an eggshell sculptor, a dark shadow sat down beside me and would not go away. It was just a vague smudge of a figure, mutely and menacingly following me everywhere. I tried to describe him to others, but no one else could see him. Early one rainy dawn I spotted him hunkered down in a trashcan, all in a jumbled heap of black scribble. Feeling bad, I carried him to my studio and spent the next month helping him shape up, in hopes he might eventually go away. But he was a Vast Depression, and once I saw him clearly, he started talking. He hasn't stopped since.
I was a 54 year-old woman, minding my own business, serenely carving delicate little eggshells; suddenly I'm "Remembering Childhood" by making full-sized barbed-wire playground swings.
Throughout life, any form of art was my escape --- a safe and therapeutic space; but an actual "Artist" was someone who had a recognizable style and/or something important to say. I was just the lady who made cool and pretty things (mostly for her own sanity, or cheap gift-giving). I didn't think the story I had to tell was anything anyone wanted to hear, and my many attempts over the years to convey the tale in words invariably fell short each time. Trying to tell the stories of my past was preventing me from actually sharing them. Until...
...the joy of my fellowship fell prey to severe depression, and my minutely detailed, miniature artwork was abruptly (& helplessly) as abandoned as my inner child had long-since been. My work swiftly took on an entirely new scale and scope becoming, instead, a visual exploration of the imagery of my upbringing, rather than the stories which formed it. At last! My medium and my message collide and unify.
Reclaiming found materials around me and creating full-sized sculptures in order to reclaim my personal history opened a floodgate of introspection which soon revealed itself to be an all-too-recognizable condition shared by far too many.
As I continue recreating these snapshots of memories from a childhood no child should endure, vignettes which reflect the effects of neglect coalesce, and the tale told is a timeless fable of life beyond trauma.