BY LISA DONOHUE
Wading in the chilly waters of Puget Sound with a hazy backdrop of distant wildfire smoke, a chill in the air signals the approaching Fall Equinox. This photo shoot was a culmination of the work of 3 long-time friends, Jonquil (from Tacoma), Lisa (from West Seattle) and Siobhan (from Whidbey Island), who decided to come together with intention and support each other's creative endeavors. Early in the year we made a commitment to meet regularly, create consistently, playfully and fearlessly, and to ultimately get our work out into the world. We agreed on a long-term goal to host a group show, "Lacrimosa", and to display our bodies of work alongside local performance artists and musician friends.
Siobhan proposed an interesting idea to help promote the show: create characters built on the Lacrimosa concept that would reflect the materials and inspirations used in our respective works, and then capture it on film. We set a date with photographer Kook Teflon about 4 months out, which helped us stay focused on completion. We continued to meet every few weeks keeping each other on track, and as we worked on our art pieces in tandem, our characters began to emerge.
CHANGING COURSE - MY PROCESS
Early inspirations for my encaustic pieces had gotten fairly dark -- death, decay, mortification of the flesh, deep sorrow, solitude -- weaving into some pretty disturbing dreams with images and feelings that were tough to shake. In spite of those fears I trusted the process, experimenting daily with some of my favorite materials - rust, metals, inks, oils, wax, wire and fibers into small canvases and wire mesh sculptures. After lots of trial and error I discovered a way to create strong, light, sculptable substrate "foliage" to cradle the encaustic medium. I continued on with a massive assembly line of nearly 130 individual pieces, each formed by hand, wired & wrapped into garlands, and finished off with strands of preserved leaves. The challenge of weaving the forms into wearable art led me in a direction that I hadn't considered before, especially as my intentions for the piece drifted from dark to light. It was a strangely healing experience. The final "resplendor-esque" piece was named 'Tears of Epione', for the Greek Goddess of the soothing of pain. It is a creation completely different from the dark place I had started - something peaceful, delicate, tactile, even magical..
Photos by Kook Teflon
A TRIO OF CHARACTERS: PERSONIFYING THE WORKS
Jonquil's stunning and curious critter macro photography inspired her underworldly "Laitbeaux" character. Siobhan's illustrative, earthy assemblage work emerged as a dark woodland faerie goddess. My aesthetic of combined purity and decay took shape as a sentinel protector/deity adorned in rusted nails and sculpted wax foliage.
The pieces appeared at the October's Babylon Death Party 18: "Enlightened Orphans" installment at the Fred Wildlife Refuge hosted by Kook Teflon. The event was a gathering of vendors, musicians, and visual artists honoring orphans and ancestors.
To view other works, see our galleries here.