Bird Reliquaries from Late 21st Century, Jones Falls Settlement
My work grows organically from time spent wandering in the urban streams and forest buffers of Baltimore. These hidden waterways were designed to channel storm water from all our impervious surfaces like roads, shopping malls, and housing developments. The water transports all the trash and pollution it collects along the way, to the Jones Falls, then the Chesapeake Bay, and out to the Atlantic Ocean. While hiking, I feel a mixture of awe at the lush life that manages to grow in such an abused environment and horror at the way we have treated the earth. I worry about climate collapse and especially my daughter’s future.
For a long time I grieved and raged. Now I use my skills and a little sorcery to change the valence of the trash I collect from negative to positive. I weave the overlooked into a poetic visual presence I hope can remind us all that our earth is beautiful and complicated and magical. This process of observing nature, collecting trash, and making art has become a spiritual practice for me.
These sculptures are each based on a bird I have traveled through the outdoors with. Many of the wood pieces I use come from trees knocked over in a flood so I can use parts of the roots where a stone got incorporated in the wood. This resiliency during growth is an inspiration to me. People who live close to the land and make everything they need must use what they can find in their immediate environment. I enjoy that kind of resourcefulness. Each piece is a manifestation of many days of labor. This kind of devotion only happens when we love something. I love this planet and am grateful for the places my feet touch the ground here.