Trading gazes

My mother, a habitual embroiderer, was the heart of my childhood home. My father, an engineer and mathematician, was rational and uncomfortable with emotion. My mother passed away when I was a teenager and many years later, a few weeks before my son was born, my father died. Seeking a visual language to convey difficult, layered emotions, I combine the Surrealist parlor game, the exquisite corpse with quilting and embroidery traditions.

To make the screens, I begin with a word. Then at a local public library I locate that word, such as migration, in the public card catalogue drawer. Moving several cards forward, I could find "mates", then "mazes" and finally "Milky Way". This random poetry informs the imagery, which I cut, quilt and sew into a fiberglass window screen. After coating rag paper with cyanotype or van dyke emulsions, I use sunlight to make a tracing of the thread woven into the screen. When I first began making these, the  absence of my parents was echoed in the slow disappearance of card catalogue drawers from my extensive network of neighborhood libraries.

When photographing through the screens to the outside world, I am interested in the way a small figure placed deliberately in the landscape, quietly elicits a self-reflexive connection, returning the gaze inward. I seek to evoke the amelioration of mourning through these slow, meditative, and meandering processes. I find great value in an open-ended practice guided by unexpected possibilities.