Transcendence: Mooring the Storm
at Frog Hollow in Burlington, VT
An Installation process taking place during the month of April, 2011 by Carol MacDonald and Erik Rehman.
*** if you haven’t read the beginning of this, please go to April posts and see it from the beginning.
Day 7: Thursday, April 21st
While we were away my dear friend Martha brought in a beautiful bouquet of daffodils. They are the perfect antidote for the yellow POLICE DO NOT CROSS tape that is wrapping part of the figure.
Today we continued to wrap the figure. I started with some pink and lavender mohair yarn. warm and fuzzy… and then started using some stronger red, teal, purples, etc. Above is a picture of Erik wrapping. It looks like he’s playing the cello as he passes the material around the figure. We are working with the idea of creating a cocoon. A safe space to go within, a space of transformation.
The final Thorns and Roses piece went up. I had reprinted the blocks to work in this space. It works really well with the pussy willows. I’m also excited about the juxtaposition of the angle of the thorns with the angle of the branches in Erik’s tree drawing.
We also switched out the dragonfly overlays. There are now about six layers of dragonflies. They are very translucent and the black paper behind them creates depth as the dragonflies dart back and forth.
The final survivor piece went up. It is a blue square with the word love and a drawn heart. These pieces form an aura around the figure space of the door. Erik has rebuilt the shelves for his sculptures, simplifying and minimizing them. The shadows cast by the sculptures are much more interesting. We rearranged the table and pedestal, bringing the figure closer to the door.
Day 8: Saturday, April 23
Today is the final work day. We are both looking forward to finishing up. Holding the space of this project and sustaining the installation over the month has been a lot.
The Puzzle Journey piece went up along the top of the tree wall. We took down the tracing paper and paper dolls. This piece is done on four pieces of 40″ x 9″ paper. I knew that it was too long for this space, but there are places where we can overlap the panels and I was really hoping it would work out reasonably well. I put linen tape tabs on them to be able to tack them up. I want this piece which essentially forms a time line of the healing process to go along the top edge of the room. When my children were small we had a border of clowns and circus animals in their room. It was bright and cheerful. As much of this healing work is done in the waking hours, it seems an appropriate place to have the visual reference of these images. I climbed up on the tall ladder and put the first and last panel up and then started filling in with the middle ones. With some adjustments it fit perfectly! Amazing -I hope it works as well in the other spaces.
Wrapping the figure is the final step. We want it totally covered and so we took turns. This wrapping part has been the one piece that we both physically worked on. I brought in a really old , incredibly soft and threadbare cotton blanket which we tore into strips and tied together. Tarletan, which is used in intaglio printing to wipe plates was also torn. One had a lovely teal hue to it and the other raw sienna and spring green. Cheesecloth, yarns and thin string. I realized that 20 years ago in the early 90’s when I was doing my own work around childhood abuse, I made big drawing and paintings of this same cocoon form. Here we were making the same image but in 3-D.
When the wrapping was complete, we lay the figure on the ground. No longer having to stand. Able to go into it’s cocoon or pupae of transformation. The ball of yarn starts with the tree trunk goes up and across and down the other side, winds through the door and then forms an umbilical cord to the cocoon on the ground wrapping itself around it many times and then laying and waiting expectantly on the ground beside it.
I’m still ruminating on my thoughts about this process. Honoring each person’s story and experience and working to visually reclaim those lost parts has been my guiding principle. It seems like this is one of those pieces that has come through me. I have relied on my intuition, trusting the thoughts that filtered through my psyche. Letting each thought and piece develop over however much time was needed. It has stretched me as an artist and as a person. I have had to discover how to use new tools and processes. Erik has been an amazing person to collaborate with. I treasure his quiet manner, quirky sense of humor and wisdom. I am grateful to Tony and Cathleen from the Women’s Rape Crisis Center for coordinating the interviews and all of the work they have done and to Rob Hunter from Frog Hollow who had the idea for this project and has supported us every step of the way.