Usually when I make art, it’s quick, messy and thick with a sense of urgency. With ceramic sculpture I will take my time to make sure that it won't fall apart or blow up in the firing process but I won’t smooth out fingerprints or nail marks or that little dent just to the left. It’s often imperfection that makes something beautiful or at least lends some sense of meaning. When I paint or draw or write all of this still applies, it may all be patched together quickly or hazardly but it will be standing come morning. This is my resistance.
I rarely go out to buy art supplies, I have never been very good at allowing myself this indulgence. So, I find them. Discarded wood on the side of the road, already painted on canvas at the thrift store, old stove tops in a junk yard, free house paint on craigslist. The greatest gifts I have ever received in life have been art supplies. Trying to create something from what the world has given me has turned into an art practice in itself.
My Mother was an artist but I didn't understand this before she died. As a kid, the fact that she sewed was boring. Sure, I loved the blankets that she made just for me and was even some what intrigued by the dolls but I didn't understand the skill that went into it. I didn't know about fabric choices and colors and stitching it all together. I did not appreciate quilts or afghans or the beautiful dresses. But I married a seamstress and once again find myself more often than not in fabric store on rainy Saturdays. And it’s the patterns that I notice. I loved them as a kid, I loved fingering through packets upon packets of something I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand. Maybe It’s the unbearably thin paper with the notches and dotted lines that magically make clothing, or blankets or something useful. Everything is exact, complete with instructions on how exactly to cut this unbearably thin paper, it makes me think of surgery and skin and blue prints. There is an art to stitching it all together, to making it work, to linking one piece to the next-- this too has become part of my resistance.
Most days I have no idea who I am or how I got here or if I have even arrived. But I know that I have stitched something together despite the fact that I can’t even thread a needle. I know that I have become a sculpture of found moments, grief and distant memories to painful to be anything but abstract. It’s all here, stitched together quickly at midnight or maybe it was 4pm every thursday for the last twenty years. Some of it’s glue, some of it’s clay and some of it’s tears. It’s messy and childish and strong enough to weather a storm. I don’t know if it comes apart, I don’t know if I want to take it apart, I don’t know if I can look at it piece by piece, moment by moment, because it’s all just thrown together with everything I have, it’s private and ugly and the most beautiful thing I have ever sculpted from nothing.
Some days I want to show it to you, even in pieces. And everything feels wrong and I know that this is the answer, to peal back the moments like an onion, to reveal why the sculpture still stands come morning, to revel in the masterpiece of becoming and creation.
And I resist in sharing and telling and the truth because silence and resistance have become the glue, the substance that is holding me together. Resistance is everything, it’s all I have left. And I am going to cling to it because that is survival. Resistance is living, it’s what brought me to this moment and what will hold me until the next. I can not stop resisting, this is the pattern, the stitching, and all of the lint in my metaphorical pockets-- I let go of this and everything --sculpture and all come tumbling down. Resistance has become the fiber of my being and sculpting my secrets into meaning has become my art.