Monday, January 25, 2010

"You're only as sick as your secrets. " ~Author Unknown
Lately, I have been reading about the ongoing community art project PostSecret created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

I have been thinking a lot about secrets. The ones we keep to protect our self, secrets we keep to protect another, secrets about things we were proud of and never wanted to keep secret at all. There is a saying, " You are only as sick as your secrets." I don't know who said it, maybe it has been true for all mankind for as long as anyone can remember.

Carrying a secret in your heart, something you are ashamed of, a grief you can not ask someone to share with you, or something that would really hurt another if you told the secret is a big burden. Keeping something a conspiration when you never intended to be part of a secret can create stress and make you sick inside. Stress does all sorts of nasty things to our bodies including; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, muscle aches, tension headaches not to mention how much it cuts down your flow of creative thought.

During my first quarter in the graduate school fiber program at Savannah College of Art & Design, September 2008, I was enrolled in a class, Stitch as Language or Object. I signed into this class even though I had little to no experience to embroidery at that time. All of my efforts up to that point had been self taught from watching my grandmother doing her needle works as a young girl. My goal was to get some advice from the professor and the other graduate students on what they saw in the beginning of my project, Fleur de Mon Secrets.
I selected french as it is a romance language and it would make the secrets a bit more difficult for most English speaking people to read.

Everyone had so many ideas, so much input, ways they saw my project developing that I felt so confused I abandoned my project in favor of developing a my sewing skills for the rest of the quarter. I decided the place I needed to begin was learning how to embroider fine stitches to create a script text with needle and thread. I practiced for many, many hours on numerous pieces of cloth until one day I began to see progress in my embroidery skills.
During my time in Savannah I was exposed to so many new ideas, tried so many new medium, changed my way of working from 2-D to 3-D sculptural objects, then eventually to making garments. Basically, it was a year of experimentation that I thoroughly enjoyed. What I needed most was the freedom to be all over the place. A good thing if you are an open to adventure person, a bad thing if you need to focus on one project for a masters of art.

Taking some time to regroup at home, to work on my cottage industry ricerafferty wearable art and accessories since June has been prolific use of my time and energy.

My mind has cleared enough to again think about the Flowers of my Secrets. This time I am taking a bit different approach. For my medium I have selected used coffee filters. You know, the kind that you toss in the waste paper basket every time you make another pot of coffee. Since the summer I have been collecting my own coffee filters and from anyone else who will save them for me. Everyday I shake out the excess coffee grounds, rinse the filter and hang it to dry. After months of collecting these filters I began to sew them on a cotton muslin dress I am making. My eyes are attracted to the textures and natural hues left as stains on the used coffee filters. I like the idea of making something interesting to look at that could also be worn if you wanted to, from something others see as trash.

The coffee filter is a perfect circle an ancient and universal symbol of unity, wholeness, infinity, the goddess, and female power. I coat each used coffee filter in pure bees wax to give it a a pleasant fragrance and translucent effect. Four thousand years ago in Egypt, the honey bee wax was regarded as a symbol of royalty. I like the contrast between a throw away item being coated in a symbol of royalty.

For my secrets I am reading through the website of PostSecret to select ones that are from females. Next I write the secret on the wax coated coffee filter then begin the slow process to embroider the secret to give it value, take time to pray for the bearer of the secret and send healing wishes to the anonymous owner of each secret. Here is a pic of my work in progress.
The website has an endless amount of secrets for me to create my healing garden; Flowers of my Secrets or Fleur de Mon Secrets.

Secrets to Embroidery from Post Secret

· I made a deal to show my Tits on Webcam so I could get my calculator back before math class.
· I didn’t want to be a mother before I had an abortion
· I never knew what it meant to stay in it for the children until I stayed in it for the children
· I miss him even though I know he would eventually kill me
· After how I lost my virginity, I can’t imagine sex as something you do out of love
· To my daughter's birth mother- She turns 17 today! You would be so proud. She is Brave & Strong (from you I think).
· Getting to my goal weight will be another push to finally end our lifeless marriage.

I'll post more work as it is created. I have to get back to work now. See you soon ;~)

Please save used coffee filters for my Trash to Treasure project creating Fleur de mon Secrets.
Just dump the coffee grounds into the garden, store the unwashed filters in the freezer until you want me to pick them up. I'll wash the filters and prepare them for my art project. The Lord Bless you for helping me to create this healing project, you are only as sick as your secrets...

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