Fire (For Grandma) (2016)
When my grandmother was in 1st grade, she drew fire. When her teacher asked her where she learned to draw fire so realistically she responded “ I just looked”. Her teacher brought the drawing to every classroom.
My grandma singles that moment out as when she first knew she was an artist. As I interviewed her I heard fire coming up again and again as a sort of motif; her passion for art and life was fiery, her love for my grandpa and her 6 kids was warm, her big dinners for my extended family (using fire to cook things). Her whole house is even bathed in light. Out in the garden where we talked for over two hours, I actually got a sunburn. Everything about her is fire.
Using mostly warm colors, I patched together three pockets with three themes. One pocket about her and my grandpa’s love; a background of hearts with butterflies flying across it (in her own words “butterflies are the house of the soul”) and an appliqued hook earring which she used to “catch” my grandpa with the embroidered date “June 1956”, when they were married. Another pocket shows the meals she cooks for our big family gatherings; a big part of how i grew up. I painted the background fabric as the tile that’s above her stove. The last pocket is her passion for art. Using the imagery that made her realize she was an artist, I created a fire using pieces of different flowers. I also hand printed the jacket fabric, adapting my grandma’s own art: a broken plate print she designed to recognize her creative and passionate spirit. Using her actual words in the inside of the jacket, this piece tells my grandmothers story in the form of clothing that she would actually wear.