There’s a scene that I just love from a Michel Gondry film called The Science of Sleep. It’s a very cute and quirky take on the process in which dreams are prepared. Though my reference to it often falls on deaf ears, it always pops into my head when I’m creating a custom piece like this. Sometimes I’ve found, it’s just about creating the perfect concoction. The depth in pieces such as this, are fueled by so many seemingly random components that come together. Delving deeper into the ingredients, creates more connections and correlations until one day, a vision surfaces. Wade into this story and you’ll see what I mean, this piece is rich with symbolism.
When I first met with Brenda she had an earring, a solitary halo, which was a gift from her grandmother. It’s other half had been lost and this one was longing to find a new path. So, we sat over tea, and she told me about her Grandmother Gregoria. A woman of Mexican heritage, she carries with her a strong presence and is always polished, an entrepreneur and a mother to 7. It was with these attributes of a striking woman in mind, that coincidentally, I set off for Mexico. Eyes wide open, waiting for lightning to strike.
I find the most inspiration in travel. I feel open to connection in ways that a ‘normal’ routine just doesn’t allow. Continually surprised and delighted by the patterns that repeat across cultures. The challenge to get uncomfortable, to look at the world through an entirely different lens, to tap into beliefs of different cultures and re-examine life creates endless fuel for me. Wandering through foreign streets I am constantly struck by the beauty of architecture in cities with more history than ours.
We approached the Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Mexico City. Home not only to the biggest flag I have ever seen in my life, but a building rich in history. It is Latin America’s largest and oldest Cathedral and is situated atop a former Aztec sacred precinct. It now houses the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico, and was actually designed by Spaniard Claudio de Arciniega. It was inspired by Valladolid’s Gothic architecture. (No wonder I’m smitten!) It was while wandering through this complex that a pattern caught my eye on the ceiling above me. I pointed my phone upward to capture it.
As I thought more and more about this, it felt like the perfect fit. So I took this pattern and built out around it. A complete circle with 8 parts became representative of one woman with 7 children. Setting her apart as matriarch, her segment is raised to symbolize a different role.
In the discovery process we found that Gregoria’s last name when translated into english means grapevine. It felt important to include this, and I did so in the form of a hand carved bail and grapeleaf to pay homage to that history.
It’s when a piece is delivered, it’s inspiration is shared and tears are the response that I know I’ve done my job. This piece felt meaningful in its creation. Not only for Brenda and her family, but more so than many, this also tapped me back into a place with my art that I’ve been distanced from for some time. It’s the art as story, as narrative, and homage. Thank you Brenda for this challenge, I hope that you continue to feel this connection for years to come. <3
The older I get and the more I (think) I learn about the world. In my eyes, It’s not about More. Instead, it’s the connections, the experiences, and the moments that we feel most alive. So for you reading this, I ask you, what narrative do you have to tell?