Work in Progress

It's hard to believe, but I began this project 15 years ago. What the heck is it? Well, that's changed a bit over the past decade and a half. When I started working on this I was in 24, renting a room in a house full on strangers, recovering from a bad breakup, working a crappy job, trying to figure out if/how to go back to college. I would come home from work head straight to my room and start working on projects. Nothing in particular. One day, I took out my old journals. Seven years worth! I started reading them and I remember wishing we would shed our thoughts every seven years, the same way we do with our cells. This project is sort of a physical representation of that idea.

I started by ripping all the pages out of all of the journals. Every few pages I would paint with a wash of color. After everything dried, I cut the pages into diamond shapes and glued them onto sheets of clear plastic. That summer, the family I was staying with went on vacation and while they were gone I took over the garage. I laid out my sheets of collage on the floor and coated them with mold-making rubber. As they dried, I hung them up on the walls to make room on the floor. It was quite a scene! The two car garage covered from floor to ceiling with this weird, slimy, scaly skin. I love to work this way; diving into a process and surrendering control of the outcome. The neighbors hated it though!  The chemicals were stinky and Acid Mothers Temple was playing at a ridiculous volume.

After everything dried (mostly!) I packed it away, not sure what exactly to do with it all. I had hundreds of feet of this stuff, it was a bit overwhelming. My vision at the time for this piece was to turn these panels into a loooooooong dress, filled with little sparkly lights hanging in the atrium of some beautiful building. Not an easy feat to pull off and needless to say, that didn't happen.

Over the next many years, life happened! I fell in love, moved out to "The Compound" with my sweetie, I finished my degree and got married. My husband and I packed up and moved from San Francisco to Washington and spent a few years as 'industrial nomads'.  The project stayed packed away, improperly cured mold-making rubber doing its thing.

We rented a house and I used the garage as my studio. It had been a while since I took a peak in that giant pile of trash bags that housed my crazy project. I opened it all up, just to see what the state of the thing was. My heart sank! The mold-making rubber was sticky on so many of the panels. Ugh. After a little freakout, I figured I would cut my losses and just throw out the sticky pieces and work with whatever was left. Happily there was a fair amount that had cured just fine. I cut the pieces down into 1'x1' squares. I envisioned sandwiching these between plexiglass and back-lighting them.

Another few years passed. More life happened! My husband and I bought a house and had a baby. The kiddo is now almost 4 and I'm just starting to have some time to myself again. Gotta admit, it feels a little weird...self-indulgent even! But that's ok, I'll get used to it;)

I pulled out this project again after all these years and decided to go ahead and really make something with it. The plan now is to do a series of encaustic panels. Each one is 8"x8" and there will be 50 total. They will be laid out 10 across and 5 down. There will be continuous, subtle imagery over the entire piece and a really great quote in the bottom corner: "Because the question for me was always whether the shape we see in our lives was there from the beginning or whether these random events are only called a pattern after the fact...do you believe in fate?" from All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy.


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