I began making small assemblages when my children were young, mostly out of convenience, but in some unconscious way, also connected to the handmade detritus I would find around the house. Late at night I might come across a scribbled letter from the alphabet, a glued-on fragment of paper, a skewed boot in crayon - disembodied reminders of them in the stillness. It would be a tender counterpoint to the full, loud, and often challenging day of personalities bumping up against each other. I remember feeling the shift in perspective from being the mother or 'mothering' back to just being, perceiving, feeling. I see now that these ordinary things made from their hands held a density of feeling related to identity and impermanence that I was compelled to explore.
I've continued to make them over the years and they've become a foundational aspect of my paintings. In some ways they are the energetic architecture of the paintings, enlivening like a sourdough 'mother'. But they nourish me too in their basic quality and in the mindful joy they seem to induce when I make them. I no longer see them as connected to my children, but as a medicine that helps me return to perceiving and feeling with my hands.
The drawing/collages are made with materials that will eventually fade, yellow, detach, or fall apart in time. Their provisional ingredients might include a staple, glitter glue, pencil on a toothy piece of paper, a watery wrinkle on graph paper, ball point pen, marker, or a string dipped in ink. As a process, they evoke abstract feelings that feed the imagination and the mind, helping me log forms and landscapes in the subconscious that I can pull from later when painting. They are a relational and foundational tool for being able to make paintings, but they are also their own three-dimensional things. It's difficult to share them in any kind of formal way. I've photographed them, but these are temporary snapshots. Parts fall off or get readjusted. Sometimes I will make a rubbing of one's surface to capture it in some way, but also to create the foundation for a new collage. It's a cycle that looks for seeds of new things within a continuum of connection.
I also work with flowers as a form of subtle medicine (fieldsong.ca). Plants are the expression of an environmental time process that includes growth, decay and reproduction. I find myself inside a similar process with the paintings and collage drawings. In an odd way perhaps, they reflect on what it means to be in relationship with what is. It includes the formation of identity as a kind of continual 'mothering' process in time and place that is impermanent. Health feels like finding equilibrium - a form of solidity within a dissolution/rebirth process. Those bits of paper and glitter glue are the tangible forms I'm using to describe this feeling. A perpetual process of letting go, but also of reformation by finding and feeding the connections between things.