I was wondering how animals adjust to different environments, especially in urban settings like Chicago. As I took walks in the prairie around me, I observed wild plants and animals, and started thinking about the traces and impressions they leave behind.
I noticed footprints that squirrels, birds, deer, and rabbits LEFT on the snow-covered ground of the forest. These traces remained in the snow long after the animals were gone, like an indication of their existence and a memory of their presence.
I realized that even footprints in the snow eventually melt away and only remain in our mind, just like the memory of a warm handshake or a certain scent that might fade away.
I translated these observations into my work. For the last ten years I have been exploring and using natural dyes exclusively in my pieces, allowing the materials to represent my thoughts.
WHEN I CREATE MY OWN PIECE, I LET MY THOUGHTS ABOUT TRACES AND MEMORY SPONTANEOUSLY GENERATE IDEAS FOR WORK.
AN IDEA MIGHT HIT ME WHILE READING A BOOK, TALKING WITH AN ARTIST FRIEND, OR TAKING A WALK.
AFTER EXAMINING IT, I DRAW MY IDEA IN A SKETCH BOOK AND TRY TO EXECUTE IT. SOMETIMES IT FAILS, BUT SOMETIMES I AM ABLE TO PROCEED.
I STARTED DYEING FABRIC USING NATURAL INDIGO DYE VAT. I CREATED VARIOUS SHADES OF INDIGO BLUE TO REPRESENT SKY, WATER, AND OCEAN, AND FELT INFINITE SPACE AND FREEDOM.
AT THE SAME TIME, BLUE HAS A MELANCHOLIC CONNOTATION, AND IT MADE ME THINK OF PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED FROM THE CORONA PANDEMIC.
Cycle of Renewal #2 - Japanese rice paper dyed with indigo and painted with natural dyes; hand cut and constructed, 40” H x 60”W
As the act of stitching is like breathing, the repetitive action calmed me down and made stress and frustration go away.
I felt I am meditating in search of peace of mind. I made several small pieces. It is a perfect way to relax during the difficult time.
All images are courtesy of the artist