Some ten years ago, I began creating structural elements for a tropical garden in Mexico. At the time, there was all sorts of emotional upheaval in my life… My mother was now in her fourth year with Alzheimers, my father was looking for the unattainable silver bullet, my husband’s mother had died suddenly with a pulmonary embolism, my husband was a mess with grief, his stepfather was out of his mind, we had lost our healthy seven year old Dalmatian to cancer after a huge amount of money and 2.5 years of travel for treatment, my siblings had chosen not to jump in and help when our parents needed it most, and I had started down that road called menopause. I know there are many people with many more trials than I, but, nevertheless, it was a really rough patch for me. I was glad to have a crazy beautiful place in Mexico to which I could escape a couple of times each year, under the pretext of renovating the house so we could continue to enjoy it and begin to rent it to tourists.
Tourists, as it turns out, really want to walk out of their house and onto the beach. It did not make them nearly as happy to walk the two hundred feet to the Caribbean that we offered. So, I felt I needed to offer them something outside of their back door, and that became a private oasis of tropical plants and pieces of mosaic.
Though I have created a few other garden objects over the years, most of my work has been two dimensional. What I discovered about working in mosaic was that I could spend hours cutting and nipping, crashing and smashing, and fussing and placing, and I felt focussed again. I could also work out the crap that goes along with living… the painful parts of life. A lot of my work has helped me make sense of anger and unhappiness, parts of my life that, frankly, I probably would have just kept buried forever, if not for my art. I think I’m a lot healthier today because I’ve been forced to stare it in the eye and deal with it.
I had a website for my art for a while, but when my Dad passed in 2012, I stopped making art for a while I kept focussed on my real estate business and worked through the grief and pain that Dad’s death brought. When I was blogging earlier about the development of my work, I called the blog “Drifting into Focus”, because it described where I was personally during those years… I knew I was changing, or, rather, figuring out who I really am. I feel like I’ve come a great distance in the past ten years, but I realize now that I will always be looking for the next interest, whether it’s a new way of thinking about something or the development of some new skill.
When I made this piece, the first two-dimensional mosaic that I have in my files, it was right after I emerged from an undiagnosed, but nevertheless real, depression. It was after my parents had moved out of the family home and into the retirement campus, and at this point, my mother had had to be relocated to the Memory Support Unit, and she no longer knew who we were. When I began to realize that I was somewhere in some great void and needed to find my way out, I began to recover. This piece describes, for me, where I had been and how I climbed out of my despair.
A FEW MORE MEXICO PHOTOS