a bright blue cotton dress
Mixed Media; plastic, wood, candles, paper, glass • 13"h x 18"w x 8"d

a bright blue cotton dress is a retrospective examination of my experience as a child of a mother who suffered throughout her life with the untreated mental illness of major depression. This examination is realized in the form of a “paperless” sculptural scrolling book. The images are silk screened onto acetate and housed inside the pockets of a roll of salvaged clear plastic packing material that scrolls between two glass candlesticks. Corrugated paper and wood were used to create the mechanical movement and the base.

The narrative: she did not know that she was falling apart as her thoughts unraveled and twisted themselves into a tangle of confusion like that of a thousand spools of unwound thread / desperately she cried out for a savior as she was swallowed by the black sea of depression, unable to grasp the hands that reached out to her / paranoia played her like a puppet depleting her soul of love and trust, leaving only a shell, a hollow void where the stranger that I did not recognize and could not love, came to reside / anxiety was the air in her lungs and it was the only thing with her as she took her last breath / like a bright blue cotton dress washed to an empty gray, she slowly faded and disappeared

As a young child, my Mother taught me about beauty, trust and love. Then, mental illness stepped in and changed everything. I watched as layers of psychotic thought clouded her sense of reality and buried her so deeply that I could not see her. While I have put the experience of her illness into a logical perspective, there is a painful sadness associated with this experience that logical thinking doesn’t address. The sadness of why. Why did this illness happen to my Mother — why does it happen to anyone?

It is my hope that by expressing my feelings through this book, others will find positive ways to express and release s
imilar feelings — feelings that shouldn’t be held inside one’s self.


stepping out of the shadows

Mixed Media
; plaster, wood, paper • 20"h x 12"w x 6"d

Is it any wonder that I stand in the shadows watching your world as it parades by with it’s insults, injury, chaos and pain? Is it any wonder that I keep my back against the wall and my heart safely tucked away where your world cannot touch it? Is it any wonder?

The ballerina has been in my life since I was fifteen. She lived in the barn at my parent’s farm. Originally she was a lamp that belonged to the previous owners’ of the farm. They left her behind when they moved, saying they would come back for her. They never did. I watched as over the years, her metal lamp parts rusted and disintegrated, her paint bled and peeled. She lost an arm, then another — but her hands remained intact, still holding the promise of tomorrow in a bouquet of five roses. Every time I walked past her, she seemed to call out to me to rescue her from this neglect, but I did nothing to save her, she was not mine.

On a visit to the farm, ten years or so ago, I noticed that she had new damage. Broken just above her ankles, she was separated from her base. I realized at that moment that I was the only one in the world that cared about this ballerina and that she belonged to me. I took her home and placed her a bright corner among a few houseplants. But, she always seemed out of place there, like a fish out of water.

It wasn’t until my neighbors cleaned out their basement and hauled a mountain of trash out to the curb on trash day,
that the ballerina became complete once more. A painted wooden drawer on the top of their trash pile caught my eye. I knew immediately it was meant to house the ballerina. Placing the ballerina in the drawer put her back into the setting of the darkness of the barn. The place where she existed and was neglected for so long.

She has come full circle. Surviving harsh conditions that broke her, she somehow managed to hold onto her beauty and has become whole again. She no longer exists in the shadows, she is stepping out and ready to tell her story.