Encoded in the soil is a history of that place. Evidence of the past can be found in the way others have worked the land before us. Our health, literally and metaphorically, is a result of how we have nurtured our earth. Likewise, how we care for our personal environment, through acts of nurturing those around us, creates a healthy community. We sow an ecosystem of cultural memory, past, future, and present.
My work uses plant material and soil as a record of personal, cultural, and ecological history. History is not only held in the buildings and monuments, but in the soil itself. I gather this soil and foliage for my artwork to make an environmental memory of the place.
Materials are rooted in the history of the place that they are from. Using traditional domestic techniques of drying and canning, I preserve the materials that I have gathered. These materials will then be sewn together, cooked, and encrusted into objects. Despite my labor of preserving, these organic art supplies are transient. When made into works of art, they can be viewed in their vulnerable state, fighting against time, as they decay.
My artwork involves caring for things that have a short shelf life and then returning them to the soil. These activities cultivate in me questions about the nature of my own existence. Traces of the past have nurtured my soil, creating a foundation to thrive in. The attention I give to my environment and culture now will be embedded into the soil for generations.
Trees are record holders and storytellers. Among the annual growth rings, one can learn a variety of things including the number of years and the severity of the seasons that the tree has passed through.
This handmade dress has been made to resemble a cross section of a tree. Encircling the dress are census, death and birth records for Marie Krause. I am her great granddaughter. Little is known of her. Evidence of her trials and triumphs are not apparent. Who she was, can only be roughly decoded through public records. Part of who I am is because of her. My knowledge of her is lifeless without any memories saved and preserved, making our interaction between the past and the present lost. I can only scramble through the ashes to try to gain understanding.