How Trashy Lady No. 1 (Gleason Pond Edition) Came to Be:
Working from my studio and living on Gleason Pond allows me to stay in touch with all of the happenings on the water. I know which animals have been born, who’s died, who’s learning to fly, who’s living where, who gets along etc. Often I’ll go on paddle boat rides to gain another perspective from what my dock can offer. This summer, I started scooping feathers out of the water hoping to collect them for a sculpture. On my excursions I began to take note of all the trash that was lying on the shore. Without a solid plan, I started picking up anything I saw and bringing it home (soon after I got my family involved too). I liked the idea of cleaning up the mess humans had left in the home of my feathered friends…but I also like free stuff. After several muddy excursions I began to shine up my trash in my yard..sometimes even in my bathtub. When the pond sludge came off and the object started to look a bit more like it’s former self, this “trash” started to feel more like treasure.
Scavenging for objects and repurposing them is exciting, especially when the objects have carelessly been tossed and deemed invaluable. The pond felt like a time capsule of Framingham history. Each object had a mysterious and unique past and often a history older than me. A Goodyear Super Cushion tire from the fifties…a John Bucyk Bruins cup from the seventies…countless vintage Budweiser cans. I found bottles, wrappers, fishing poles, bobbers, buckets, pots, tubes, sheets, brooms, you name it.
So how did all of this trash become a trashy lady? Most of my sculptural work and paintings stem from the figure because it is simply what I am most drawn to. Creating a somebody out of nothing comes with a thrill that I think Frankenstein could understand. I soon realized that I wanted to create a patron of the pond, a beautiful lady swamp monster, a guardian angel of the waters...thus, “Trashy Lady No.1” came to be.
Heavy Headed Swan
fabric, plaster, wire, pins, vacuum tube
Trashy Lady No. 2 (Gloucester Edition)
trash, mannequin, plaster
How Trashy Lady No. 2 (Gloucester Edition) Came to Be:
In October of 2016 I had the privilege of living and creating in Rocky Neck, Gloucester as the Goetemann Artist in Residence. Having the time and the space, I brought all of my pond trash to Gloucester. “Trashy Lady No. 1” was underway and I had no plans to start another lady…. but every morning I would go explore the beaches and I came to find all of this sea trash asking to be picked up! I couldn’t help but oblige! Collecting things became my routine. Thankful for bungee cords, I would bike to new shores and pile treasures onto my faithful bike. My front door became my display of my morning catches or maybe my crazy lady calling card. After collecting for several weeks I decided to make a sister for “Trashy Lady No. 1”. She would be a Patron of the Big Pond, and an elegant eclectic sea monster. “Trashy Lady No. 2” was born.
nest, yarn, hair, fabric, found wood
Many moons ago, my nonna Adele lived on a small patch of land in upstate New York. I still remember the gigantic weeping willow trees and the quiet brook that ran through her backyard. Adele was often outside and, being a curious and patient observer, especially loved watching the birds. She had the most beautiful long silver hair, that she would usually craft into an elegant bun that was reminiscent of a nest itself. After brushing her hair, she began to leave her fallen strands on a branch in her front yard, hoping a winged friend might find it useful.
One serendipitous day …my nonna gazed upon a small empty nest sitting low in a tree, the very nest you see here. Upon looking closer she saw that the soft lining of the small bird’s home was her very own long silver hair! After making sure no one lived there any more, she sent it to my family in the mail. She often sent feathers and cards and clippings in that particularly adorable way that only a grandmother can.
To me, this story could not be any more perfect in depicting who my nonna is. It captures how connected she is to the earth, how gentle yet strong she is, just like Mother Nature herself can be. I like to think of it as if the birds said, “thank you for the warmth you gave us, here is our gift back to you…”
This summer I was reflecting more on this story and started to collect my own hair hoping to craft a nest of my own. Instead of waiting for the birds (which I will do next) I I decided to take matters into my own hands and craft a nest as if I were the bird. Instead of using twigs, I used materials that Adele would collect: fabric and string. And to build it, I employed a skill that she passed on to me, sewing. My nest is a work in progress. It fails in comparison to the beauty of Nonna’s nest, but it is my ode to her.