The empty page is usually a challenge for me because there are so many possibilities. However, for this project I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had planned to do a memorial of collages for my best friend and ex-husband, Peter, before I ever found out about the Sketchbook Project; and when a good friend emailed me with the project details I knew that this was the "container" for my memorial.
As an artist I tend to be motivated by a need within to share an experience – often in order to make sense of it for myself and hopefully for others. How do I make sense of a senseless homicide? How do I honor my best friend's life while exploring and expressing my grief and rage? And finally, how do I hold on to any hope for the future in the face of such horror? These were the questions that moved me to create this set of collages for the Sketchbook Project.
I started to create the collages by collecting images and cutting background papers. It was a place to begin. After creating about ten collages, I was relocated to my mom's house for two weeks of housesitting. There I had a huge dining room table, (a luxury that I don't have at home). This was a turning point for me because I could lay out all my partially created collages and work on a number of them at the same time. Although the material was emotionally challenging for me at times, the ability to approach it and then leave it on a big table to be returned to later, was an enormous help. I completed about two-third of the collages during this time.
I chose the theme “parts of a whole” to reflect the idea that the collages represent parts of a whole relationship and parts of whole life. Through the set of collages, I tried to tell the stories of before and after the murder. The first half is focused more on who Peter was and the relationship we had, whereas the second half focuses more on my coming to terms with his death. My hope is that people who look at it get a glimpse of my extraordinary best-friend and a sense of our enduring relationship.
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