My artwork explores themes of healing and identity. The work is inspired by Japanese kintsugi, wherein broken pottery is repaired with gold filling, creating a new design within the existing pottery. I have expanded this metaphorically within my mixed media relief sculptures to denote that what is “broken” can be beautiful and whole in a new way. Or perhaps, it was never really broken at all.
I sculpt each piece in its entirety out of polymer clay before “breaking” the sculpture apart. I have little control over where the breaking occurs. In that way, the breaking process is akin to how we often experience trauma: feeling out of control, isolated, and disconnected. Once the sculpture is sufficiently fragmented, I apply gold to the newly raw edges, emphasizing their irregular shapes. The gold makes it easier to see where one piece once connected to another, and how they could connect again. The gold is a healing force, visually “adhering” the fractured pieces back together again.
Strength and resilience are prominent messages in the work. Breaking apart creates new opportunities, and in that way, destruction and creation are one in the same. In my work, these themes are united in gold, which is ultimately a symbol of the divine and of love.