tfw you are dying fabric and then what comes out looks sort of like a map and you wonder what that world would be like and who would live there or if we are all just really living on a giant piece of dyed fabric ourselves….
Thanks Linda for inviting me to come play with colour and fabric. <3
Are you ready for a story?
CW: Mental illness
This piece is called ‘Forest/healing’. I made it in 2014.
When I was eighteen and experienced my first fully-blown depressive episode I was surprised to note that I felt, well, nothing. The machinery of my body seemed to be experiencing technical difficulties and I wondered what heartless vandal had snuck in during the night time and clipped the wires that had formerly connected what I see and do to any sort of emotional response. I saw beauty all around me and yet it gave me nothing.
Fast forward a few years. It’s 2014, and I have just returned home from NYC, having dropped out of an amazing art school and given up a massive scholarship in doing so. This time the nothing feeling is no surprise. It’s not my first rodeo, it won’t be my last. I have sworn off being an artist forever. If this failed so miserably, it probably isn’t in the cards. There’s a lot of shame.
I didn’t reach out to many people then but I did end up re-connecting with a woman for whom I had volunteered in the past- helping run art therapy groups for the Parkinson’s and MS societies. She invited me to her house for a visit. We had tea. Caught up. She had some art supplies laid out- not fancy stuff but paint, markers, crayons. Then she said, “I’m going to play around with some of these for a bit. You don’t have to join me, but if you want to, you can.”
Yona is a wise woman. I felt safe. I joined her. I made this piece. Then I looked at it and I thought, “I made this.” It was like something inside me woke up again.
3. Alcohol Inks
Alcohol inks are an excellent reminder of how we must sometimes relinquish control to let beauty emerge. This applies to life as much as it does to art. We desperately cling on to the idea of things being understandable, predictable, and in our hands. I am uber guilty of this. But sometimes the universe throws curveballs at us. It’s scary af but can also create openings for new things.
Next time I’m flipping out about not knowing what I’m doing with my life or some such scary thing can someone help me remember this? I’m sure I’ll need it.
4. Glass Vials & Hospital Supply Folk Art
My mom keeps colourful glass bottles on her kitchen windowsill. When the light shines through them it reflects on the floor or the wall to make these little luminescent “light shadows”.
That’s what got me started on the glass vials and liquid watercolours.
I love how liquids can hold and suspend colour and if contained a certain way they feel like drops of magical rainbow light. I used to work at a hospital and they were getting rid of a bunch of glass vials so I took some home and made this mobile with a stick I found. I lovingly call it my hospital supply folk art.