Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Making of the Female Effigy Jar

 I bet you've had that experience when you're walking down the street and your eyes are suddenly summoned to an intriguing view of a person whose face, hair, other body parts and expressions excite your sensory buds to an extent to which your mind's eye starts wondering, wondering about that person's story. However, it rarely lasts... the wonder, unless I'm able to make a connection between that physical expression and my emotions, my feelings, my experience... 

When I first saw this sculpture, I couldn't walk away from it without coming back, and again, in awe - it spoke to me of pain and despair, and it frightened me. This is when I decided to read about it.
As I knew more I felt even more with each dive into its history. The insides unraveled into scrolls and scrolls of experience in my extended family, my eyes stirring at the hands of my grandmother and her mother's sitting in front of a loom, carefully placing each thread, one in front of the other as if they are her children who, if placed just right, will eventually unveil themselves and their role in this tightly spun piece of social fabric.

It is no wonder that, after many years since their passing, I wrap my memories of them and their influence in my life in images and objects like this effigy and many others included in the Ancient American Collection at the MFA. I feel the connection to the people who buried their dead and insisted on having something less biodegradable to remember them by. The objects they created were appropriate expressions in their times, and yet, two thousand years later, they transcend and arouse emotions that I understand and feel really deep inside me. These are words, images, narratives and gestures that unite us all across time and land.

So, here I am, in my studio creating while connecting while channeling the aesthetic appeal of this piece. From raw emotion to tight design, while seeking direction, which aspects am I invested in as a maker? 

And, remember, this is a collaboration... But more about that in my (previous and) next post...

So, here are a few pics of the work I've done. They are beads in three categories which will then become components of one sculpture: a face, a body and footing.

I went ahead and assembled one sculpture for which I designed an etched brass component and the hemp braids were skillfully woven by Janet. This piece is still evolving.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will introduce you to Sue's contributions.