Title: 2010: 2015-Fu:Fu
Info: Engraving, colored pencil, cut paper, fiber, 14” x 14”
Beginning as an engraving, a technique I learned at Frogman’s Print and Paper Workshop, this piece combines drawn, cut, and fiber elements. The yellow fiber placed behind this piece was created from hand dyed silk thread through free motion stitching.
Old Print [history]:
It began simply enough. An engraved circle of braided/twisted hair. Yet, the motif of hair has a rich, and painful personal meaning. When I use images of hair, braids in particular, it is to honor my grandmother.
“When I was a child I would sit in her kitchen watching her cook, clean or do the dishes. I remember so clearly her long silver hair cascading down her back in one eternal braid.
As she died, I neatly set her hair. A gesture of care and a silent goodbye.”
My grandmother died while I was in graduate school. I mourned her through a series of artworks including a performance, prints, and drawings.
I choose the circle to symbolize the eternal reality of her life in Jesus Christ. I look forward to seeing her again on the shores of eternity, and watching her as she vacuums all the rooms in our final, and best home.
New Life [redemption]:
The three intersecting circles were added to finish the drawing in 2015. These circles reference the Christian theology of the Trinity - one God in three persons. Even the square format references divine order and perfection. I hardly produce works that have a square matrix but this seems fitting for the concept and subject matter.
The radiating lines reference Christian iconography of saints, and angelic beings wearing halos or radiating light. Through cutting into the engraving I revealed the bright yellow fiber behind.
The color yellow follows me around like a bad [good] penny. I want to bathe in it.
“I want to make a world the color of honey. A color clear, rich, and simple. The color of morning light and the golden hour. A twice a day color.” - my sketchbook, 2011
As you mourn, the release comes out at strange times. Either in a flood or as a small crack that breaks through while you fold laundry or wash the dishes. Through the performance, a tribute, I was able to give my father a place to mourn his mother. I can still remember him embracing my mother in tears as I set the long braid to the floor.
This drawing was done a year removed from her death, when the sting had dulled but hope had grown.
Isaiah 61:3 “ to grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a faint Spirit.”
What symbols have you created to remember those who die? How do we honor them while continuing to live?
While creating this piece, I was a bit more detached from its true purpose - as a talisman to honor hope. Hope is a small thing that grows in our hearts. Nurtured by true words and always in danger of being choked out.
Let this piece live in your home to remind you of the hope of eternal life and the fragility of every person you happen upon.
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Thank you for listening.