At long last, my copy of The Pulse of Mixed Media has arrived and I spent this evening reading through the answers that 100 artists contributed and the artwork that was created for Seth Apter’s book.
encaustic mixed media
Back in 2010 Seth asked the contributing artists to create two pieces of art- one was to be a self portrait and the other one was to answer a specific question.
The Gatherer is my self portrait. The materials that went into making my self portrait include a thrift store barbie, plaster cloth, encaustic, driftwood, twigs, dried fern, and probably some other miscellaneous bits and pieces. I’m excited to finally share this piece after 2 years of waiting!
detail of back
These were my original thoughts behind my self portrait:
When I received the instructions to create a self-portrait, I immediately knew that I wanted to create a sculptural piece using encaustic and plaster. I did not know exactly what the form would be, but I allowed her to take shape organically, knowing that her form would appear and lead me to the meaning.
I have always been drawn to creating the female figure and even more specifically, the mother figure. While “The Gatherer” is not a typical mother figure, I used the nest in her hair to symbolize motherhood, creativity and fertility. My life right now is centered around my two young children, and so I wanted my self-portrait to include the concept of motherhood. But that is not the only aspect of who I am. My work is another facet of who I am. And in my work I see myself as a gatherer. I collect images from the world around me as well as materials that I come across and incorporate them in my mixed media work. I like to think that being a mother and an artist are similar. Both are roles that involve nurturing and creativity…as well as managing controlled chaos!
Her organic shape and surface also capture what I strive to create in my work, whether it is in encaustic or acrylic. Nature and the passage of time are constant themes in my work and I wanted to capture that in the colors and crevices of her form. A desire for roots and rootedness is another theme in my work and the sticks that form the bottom of her skirt speak to that desire. The sticks are all from my hikes and walks and I can tell you where each of those sticks came from. Every detail of my work is a personal part of my history. I consider all of my artwork self-portraits in that sense. All speak to an aspect of who I am, either through personal history or questions that I am seeking answers to.
When I had to sit down and create the pieces for Seth’s book I knew immediately what I wanted to do- and the interesting thing though was that they are both 3-dimensional pieces, not what I normally do. You would think that I would stick to my “normal” thing when asked to contribute work for a book! I guess, from my recent paintings, I like to switch things up from time to time. Keeps me on my toes.
I saw it as an exciting opportunity and excuse to try things that have been on the back burner. Things that I want to do, but never give myself time for. Well, I’m glad I had the excuse to do them.