i have been working on this piece since early january, and it still is a big ole work in progress. it’s the longest process i have ever encountered, most likely because it is the biggest piece i have ever worked on and the subject matter is quite specific, rather than imagery that gives way to improvisation. previously when i have worked from photographs, i allowed some room for more expressive mark making and was less concerned with using the source material in a very literal sense. however, this new series (including this piece) is very different from what i have previously created.
my goal for this piece is to showcase it within a series of translating family memories and stories into large scale works. i am not sure how long it will take, but i am enjoying the process as i go (even when faced with some stressful paper ripping, "nothing is working" situations). this is one of those times when this process of sewing handmade paper really forces me to let go of expectations and perfection. i know as long as i work hard and am enjoying the process, that is "success". of course i want something beautiful at the end, something that evokes nostalgia and triggers the viewer to appreciate my work (and by extension... me), but since this work is so fragile, the lesson of patience and learning to let go is incredibly valuable. i have always been extremely interested in delving deeper into the relationships i have within my family and the stories of before i was born, what caused the ripple effects that are reflected in my life today. since the death of my father last year, it's been something that fuels my work even more. the photograph i am working from is an image of my step father teaching me how to ride a bike, something my biological father never did.
this has been an arduous process, but i am grateful for this outlet which gives me space and a constructive way to deal with my father's death, his abandonment during my childhood, and the complicated relationship i had with my step father. at times this work can be emotionally fraught, but for me, i think it's important to work through the entanglement and see where i end up. this is why, i believe, the process is so much more important to me than the actual piece itself. the slowness, the ripping and mending, the readjustments i have to make, all are important in this journey.
thank you for stopping by and catching up on this process! i am very excited to share with you the finished piece, which is a main goal in the new year.
is there something you are working on lately that you'd like to share? leave a note in the comments, i'd love to see what y'all are working on.