Remnants of Existence: Discovering Value in Loss
Those who precede us in the continuum of humanity may affect our lives even if we are unaware of their influence. To illustrate the residue of previous generations on the present, I emboss textiles that were passed to me from my Southern American family. I was brought up on land that my ancestors have inhabited for eight generations over almost 250 years. Though never rich, they possessed a wealth of resourcefulness and talent. They made their living by raising and selling crops and livestock. The land sustained them during times of scarcity such as The Civil War, The Great Depression and both World Wars. The men of the family were builders or preachers or both, and all of the structures for miles around my home including houses, churches and the family cemetery were built by my kin. Thus, I am keenly aware of my responsibility to participate and perpetuate birth, life, death and faith within that community. The women made the clothing and household linens that they couldn't afford to purchase. Some of these were left to me in an inheritance. They are domestic items that had, not long ago, been put to regular use. They speak of warmth and hospitality, providing protection, and keeping clean. Though they are not useful to me now, I strive to record and redefine the context of their value as a reflection of memory, the passing of time, and as icons of a changing culture.