This is where I talk about why I hunt for discarded sheet metal and why I can't pass up an empty long-neck beer can. It's where I tell you why I make flower sculpture from reclaimed wood and salvaged metal.
The desire to create has been in me since childhood, but it was in 2011 that I decided to make a flower out of scrap wood and soup cans because I wanted a wreath for my porch but had no extra money to buy one. What I didn't know then was how this art form would become a symbol of my life history, and an outlet for me to survive the daily task of living.
Below: Me in 2012, with one of my first flowers that sold.
When I was in grade school, my mom enrolled me in just about everything - guitar, dance, piano, Girl Scouts …. I failed them all - my heart wasn't in it – but the final straw was when I got sent home from Girl Scouts for fighting.
It was 1973 when my exasperated mom enrolled me in the Centaurs Equine 4-H Club. There I met other nine-year-olds who loved horses as much as I did. We not only learned to ride, we made horse jumps from scrap wood and bridles out of baling twine. We learned how to use everything from pitchforks to power tools.
We learned that when you love a living being, you must care for it or it will die.
Soon I was the proud young owner of a horse named Apple. She became my best friend and source of comfort in an expanding and often angry world that deeply frightened me.
Below: Me, Apple, my mom and sister at a horse show, Cincinnati, Ohio; Summer, 1975
I spent season after season riding Apple through dense woods that paralleled the Ohio River. We galloped in fields dotted with native wildflowers, wandered in shade among blue Johnny Jump-Ups; rested by the pond where Canada geese set down near wild pink roses and brown cattails.
I was home.
Below: My friend Cindy, on Apple, on one of our many trail rides.
Fast-forward to 2011. I was a tired mother of three, low on money and self-esteem, who just wanted a porch wreath, and wound up re-discovering Nature, creativity, and her nine-year-old self.
With that first flower – painted orange and hung with a zip tie – I mixed my long-lost loves into one beautiful mess of sawdust, scrap metal and paint.
Cutting wood back in 2012
Below: Wood and salvaged metal stacking up in my old barn.
I found I could create flower art because I still love this living being named Mother Earth, and I could make it from salvaged materials because I want to help take care of Her.
I also found that when I make a flower, in my heart, I am home once again.
And now, when a stranger sees my flowers and smiles at me, suddenly this big, unpredictable world becomes smaller, happier, safer....connected.
And I smile back.
Me at one of my first art shows in Cincinnati, Ohio, 2016.
* Apple died peacefully, at age 31. I was by her side until the end. I still miss her.
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