When I write about my process, I most often speak through the materials I use and show you how I used them to create fragments from fragments that become the sculptures, prints and art objects for installations.
Fragmentation: all my work explores the residue of fragmentation and how pieces of anything become like dividing cells that just want to keep on living. We all have the urge to reproduce and to create. We all want to go on living.
Wabi Sabi explores fragmentation as well. For instance, how residual dust of stars forge the elements of the human body. In Wabi Sabi's Japanese Garden a cloud of stardust hangs above fragments of white torsos that represent rocks. In another assemblage, single paper leaves are re-joined with wooden poles to become a living canopy of nature. On the wall, ceramic plates, dropped and broken, are glued back together with gold dust and resin, becoming more precious than the unbroken plates.
In addition to the messages within each assemblage, the fragmentation echoes in Wabi Sabi show you, the viewer, the bits and pieces of my life as an artist. After the show opened, I experienced an intense emotional reaction when I realized everything that had provided me the 'juice' to be the artist that I am today was on show in the gallery.
Bancha is made from the out-of-season leaves and twigs that support the finer leaves for high-quality tea drinkers. It is considered to be one of the lowest grades of Japanese teas. Yet when brewed in a tea house--or with a particular intention in your own home--bancha becomes sacred.
The raising up of a common, everyday beverage to be consumed in a ceremonial way attests to the power of human nature: the power of our minds, our love, and our kindness. We can be happy with each other by sitting, listening, not being in a rush, taking care of what we have, and using simple means to make poetic statements.
A simple tea cup reminds us we are interconnected with nature.
All who enter Wabi Sabi leave their swords outside the door. No competition going on here!
In a way, it's like everyone can be lazy inside a tea room; feel free, unencumbered by obligations. That's how it feels to be a creative person, an artist.
In Wabi Sabi mode, our bodies meet, travel and talk. We engage in creative activities, spiritual pursuits, and spiritual quests. Our bodies relax. Our minds open and surrender to our hearts.
Many children are represented in Wabi Sabi. First, my daughter: the pink lights. The lights and my daughter bring home to me the realness of being a mother and how that experience continues to contribute to my artistic expression.
Second, is the young girl in the video “How to Tie an Obi.” The young girl is the daughter of Asami, my Japanese 'daughter' who represents me, a 'host mother,' to the young women from all over the world who lived with me and my family over the past two decades. Many of these young women became muses and models for my work.
Third, is Greta Thunberg in the typewriter and sea sponge assemblage. Greta speaks for today's children; she is their voice.
Lastly, are the overhead leaves, which were painted by students in East Boston High School. The leaves represent my work as a teacher.
What do you do when your husband drops the ceramic plates that took you a month to make? You cry. You say you want a divorce. You stop talking to him. You think of everything he did in 30 years of marriage that drove you crazy.
And then you get over it and go on with your life. You go on creating. You continue making art. You can even thank him for providing a protected space for your art to flourish.
There's a bamboo jungle in my backyard. Who would have thought New England was growing ground for this exotic wood!
In October, I harvested more than a dozen long poles to suspend from the gallery ceiling. You will see me unloading the bamboo from the truck bed and moving it to the garden side of my house where it will 'season' and wait for the February's Wabi Sabi exhibition.