Imagine walking into a room, or through life, and knowing you can’t touch anything, but this is how some people understand the world, how they see their surroundings, due to no fault of your own. The world can be limiting to people who lack one of their senses; the blind to be specific. I find art is not very inclusive for the blind, so I aim to make art available to bigger part of society. Making artworks that are meant to be touched or handled, which they can feel, is important in creating an all-embracing experience for more people.
This stems from having a blind family member. It initially started with my husband’s aunt, who is blind and she likes to examine all my ceramics. Even though she is blind I find that she is one of the few people that genuinely sees my work. She comments on the uneven thickness of the walls, the smoothness of the glaze, or the texture of the surface. Listening to her describe my work as she handled it, made me think about, how most art isn’t to be touched. Most work is just put out for display. I questioned why art wasn’t more inclusive? At that exact moment I had the idea to make art more inclusive.
My intention is to make tactile sculptures while focusing on surface decoration, texture, form and symbolism. I’ll be focusing on the hybridity of my heritage and nature in the form of decay. The cycle of the Monarch butterfly is directly tied to my Mexican roots. In the winter the Monarchs migrate to warmer regions and end up in Michoacán, México, where my parents migrated from. The Monarch butterfly’s arrival coincides with the festival, Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. There is also the ancestral significance that the Aztecs believed that the last breath of a dying person became a butterfly (in Aztec papalotl). As the life cycle of the butterfly (egg, larva, pupa, and butterfly) can clearly be observed, the Aztecs therefore gave this insect symbolic meaning of transformation. They believed the souls of the warriors killed on battlefield were like butterflies fluttering among flowers. The insect’s fluttering wings were linked to fire and the sun, like the flickering of a flame. For thousands of years Mexicans have believed this. Decay is a natural part of life we choose to ignore, due to the inevitable end that will eventually swallow each and every one of us. The constant state of decay and transformation is an intriguing element that I can draw inspiration from. Things that once lived now lay dying on the forest floor being broken down with the leaves that fall to the ground every autumn. The fallen rotted trees get broken down by, seen and unseen forces, while being reabsorbed back into Earth.