I have kept this Willa Cather quote with me, tucked in a journal, for quite some time now. It touches on ideas that I have been trying to express about an agricultural/rural upbringing, the peripheral observations one makes when walking the edges of farm fields and fence lines, and the attempt to find metaphors via fiber/cloth that encapsulate atmospheric sensations and personal memories.
When I return to my new barn studio, things feel less spacious, more about a gardener or farmer’s tendency to amass things just in case one needs to repair something or make do in an unexpected moment. Stashes of twine to fix the hole in a fence, papers from the mail that might be recycled into a clever collage, and, of course, remnants of cloth or thread that will find new life in a more worldly creation.
This back and forth between terrain traversing (along with photography documentation) and material investigations is something that I have been doing since I was a child. It does not fit neatly into any art compartment or category that is conceptually tidy. It is more of a ‘cloak,’ as Cather suggests, that protects and reveals what I value and hope to preserve.
There is also a strong urge to share, to share what I might have personally witnessed and layered on as a way to navigate the rocks in the field, the burrs on the pant leg, and the ominous skies that balance all of this beauty.
This year is the year that I hope to write these recollections and stories down, in combination with what I document and set aside as artifacts from this timeline. The conditions to do this are finally ideal, and stepping down over the edges of fields might help me to arrive again, be more earnest.