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- canvas base;
- cowry shells, Hawaii;
- wood bark, Hyalite Canyon, Montana;
- tree lichen, Hyalite Canyon, Montana;
- cat tails, Madison River, Montana;
- brown sand, Hawaii;
- small shells, Hawaii;
- paper bead necklace, Botswana, Africa;
- painted plaster cast of my face
For some reason, this mask seems childlike, trusting, and open… So its title is simply "Innocence." I love the juxtaposition of the forest and the ocean, my two favorite places on the planet. The cowry shells are ones I actually picked up on the beaches in Hawaii. Each time I find one, especially if it's somewhat large, I get a thrill. I could buy them at the flea market or tourist shops, but I don't. For them to be authentic to me, I have to find them myself, accepting each one as a personal gift from the sea to me. To the ocean elements, I've added forest elements, combining Earth and Water… and just a bit of river life in the cat tails that my partner Doug and I find when we kayak on the Madison River outside Bozeman, Montana.
Barely seen at first glance is yet another specialty – a necklace of beads, which are made of glued torn paper strips of colorful magazines, and sold at a female co-op in Botswana, Africa. Over the years, I have taught two sessions of my theater mask workshops in Africa (Johannesburg, Federation of Black Actors, and Nairobi, Kenya National Theater) and always found time to shop for fair trade items, handmade by the locals, such as this almost hidden necklace, from Botswana.
What is it about innocence that enthralls me? I suppose I sometimes see some of the activities happening in our country and in other places on the planet as complicated, jumbled, dark, shadowed, frustrating or sorrowful. To combat that attitude or viewpoint, I feel it is important for me to find an alternate focus of simplicity, calm serenity, and a childlike trust. Tapping into the innocence of that trust can often help me make that leap from doubtful pessimism to a more stable and supportive stance. It is my belief that this particular mask can evoke similar emotional responses in anyone who gazes at it, honoring the nature elements that helped create the basic essence of “Innocence” in a visual form.