When we look at a plants life cycle, it begins with the seed. From there, the plant grows. The flower comes from the plant. Then the fruit grows from the flower and when it falls, we see the seed again. It’s a circle, much like our own life cycle.
When I look at the flower, I see the part of that cycle which represents ourselves. It’s the part of our lives when we become ourselves, when we make our choices, and we live. Like the flower, it doesn’t last long.
Since I was a child I’d heard that when people die they continue to live through our memories of them. As I grew older, I learned about how fragile and temporary memories are. The truth is: memories fade and disappear in time. So I began wondering more about life and death, legacy and presence.
In my previous work, I built installations from materials which are fragile and deteriorate quickly to become nothing over time. They were transient experiences. Those materials and installations represented what I believed for years: once all who remember are gone, the memories are gone as well and people fade into nothingness.
It took some time to realize that we don’t fade into nothingness. There is something permanent which remains when we are gone. It’s not the memories we leave behind that keep us living-on - not for long at least. The thing that lasts longer is the effect we have on people.
Long after memories fade, the ways in which we effect one another continue through those around us and over time also effect people they are connected to. Like ripples in water we all have an effect on our surroundings. Even after our names are forgotten, our presence will remain.
The Parting Gifts Project
The Parting Gifts Project began in Summer 2017. That Summer I made 30 palm-sized ceramic plants which were gifted to friends and colleagues.
Giving a parting gift is an act of giving which helps us say goodbye. This is usually a gesture made with hope to part well and be remembered. Parting gifts also tend to aid in easing the sadness of the moment.
The Parting Gifts Project is now in its second iteration. The small porcelain pieces are meant to resemble leaves and flowers, representing nature and life. By offering them as porcelain objects I am making permanent that which is transient. Long after all memories are gone, the parting gifts will remain, mysterious, but forever.