My father is a leisure hunter and fisherman. When I was young, his trophies adorned the walls of our house and I recall being fascinated by the buck busts on the wall. The fur was not nearly as soft as those animals I had pet at the Quadrangle, and the glass eyes, creating a vacant stare, were haunting. These wall mounts were just as priceless and ornate as the antiques he collected.
As an adolescent I used to dry flowers above my bed, watching them stiffen and shrivel, always losing their color. They represented beautiful and sad moments, including interaction with my favorite Suicide Girl, at my very first Burlesque Show, and a rose from my grandfather's funeral arrangement. Though faint, some scent did remain. As a nostalgic, these sensual reactions allowed me to conjure up those moments in my mind.
In Hungary, I tried my hand at the ceramic burn-out process via slip dipping of flowers and feathers. The repetition and results were both full of disappointment - due to the fragility and inexperience - and satisfaction - when porcelain is vitrified and contains accents of color it is breathtaking. With a lot of trial and error experimentation in slip dipping, I figured out what methods works best for my practice, utilizing mostly flowers and clothing.
This spring I found a bird laying dead in the test kiln/china paint room. There was a huge source of conflict as I decided what I should or should not do with this creature's remains. In later discussions with studio mates, I found I was not the only one in that conundrum on personal discovery of the bird.
In deciding to preserve this once living bird, I wanted to be as respectful to it and the people around me - smell, bacteria, etc. - as possible. The vitrified, domestic porcelain covered animal became a precious inclusion in an installation where I attempt to reveal a large portion of intimate details in my life. Its presence is sacred. I might not have interacted with it in its lifetime, but it has profoundly affected me after its death.