Friend to My Spirit

Friend to My Spirit

Friend to My Spirit | encaustic mixed media. 18×24 inches
currently at Lark and Key Gallery

Working on this piece just felt right. Piecing together odds and ends that I have collected in my studio- either found or made by myself or given to me. I incorporated textiles, rusted cloth, hand stitch cloth, metal, a photo, nails, plaster, old book pages, encaustic paint and medium. When I work on these types of pieces I often feel like a bird, building and weaving together a nest- but a home of images and paint and things to transmit an idea or feeling. A home of what is earthy, what is natural, what brings balance and strength. Feet firmly planted in the earth.

The title comes from Toni Morrison’s book Beloved, which profoundly affected me when I first read it in high school and then even more so when I read it again in college. I probably should reread it again and it will have another effect on me, now that I am a mother. There’s a line in the book that has stayed with me all these years.

“Suddenly he remembers Sixo trying to describe what he felt about the Thirty-Mile Woman. “She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

He is perfectly describing the kind of love that returns a person back to him or herself. Love is usually thought of as something that is possessive…but here he describes a love that is generous and puts things back right, especially in an often cruel and inhumane world.

I have always thought of my art and nature in that way actually. It helps me return to myself.


  1. What beautiful piece! I love that line that inspired the name. Now I’m going to need to read Beloved again. And I’m feeling inspired. My art practice has been shaky this year and I’ve only recently been drawn to any kind of making.

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