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- two wooden bases, from a Wyoming lakeside shore;
- painted plaster cast of my face;
- wasp nest plus wasp nest paper, Montana;
- zebra rock (also called lightning stone,) Lake Champlain, Vermont;
- tree moss, Hyalite Canyon, Montana
This mask, for me, is a tribute to my ancestors – generations of my personal, familial forefathers, as well as the entire global ancestry. Because of them, I am here at this time, this place, and this incarnation. Honor is due to that lineage of the whole human race, but I pay the most homage to my immediate progenitors – my great grandparents, grandparents, parents – and, in particular, my mother, Virginia, whom I lost when I was a teenager. I am proud to be her descendent, and grateful for all those kindred people who came before her and created her in the bloodline, and then… me. I suppose this mask is me, in this moment, in the “betwixt and between” of my ancestors and the future descendants to come from me.
This is the only Mask Artistry piece I've made that has two pieces, one with the mask and one that accompanies it. When making this piece, it just seemed right to add the top piece, creating a more balanced and complete image. I imagine the two wood pieces are “related”, like family, found on the same lakeshore in Wyoming, but perhaps they are from two different rivers that emptied into the lake, somewhat like a merging in a lineage chart or genealogy map. Besides the wasp nest paper and the tree moss, the primary materials I focused on are the black and white stones. I have, for years, been drawn to these stones found only at Lake Champlain, Vermont. Called “lightning stones” or “zebra rocks,” they are a sedimentary rock, a siltstone of Iberville Shale, streaked with calcite. The black and white designs on each stone are so strikingly and breathtakingly appealing to me. The fact that they were formed, in geologic form, 500 million years ago during the Ordo–Vician period when all the earth north of the tropics was Ocean, means they were already in existence before any of our human ancestors began creating the original legacy of our interwoven ancestry… and they serve as appropriate decoration on this “Ancestry” Mask Artistry piece.
I hope you gaze upon this mask and honor your own ancestors and all those who have come and gone before us to make possible your own existence in this time and place.