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The Katrina Collection is a series of mixed media assemblages which incorporate storm debris from Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. There are approximately 1000 pieces in the collection to date, so most of the pieces are in the archives, located on the right hand side of the poage-just scroll down a little bit.
Pascagoula was fashioned from a piece of copper and wood (gutter? something from a structure) which I found on the lot of my friends Will and Lee. I paired it with a silver platter and a carved and painted duck. The name comes from a river on the coast-very much in my mind recently because of a a fundraiser I organized for the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. The BP oil spill has affected all of us down here-and will be affecting everyone else in the country, whether they know it or not.
Mission Door II (and I) were created from a wood and wicker support, a piece of scrap plywood, a ceramic tile with the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the door to a jewelry cabinet, which reminded me of some of the missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail.
French Quarter Courtyard was created from a piece of fence on which I painted the fleur de lis, a wicker and wood support, and a broken piece of decorative acrylic which came from that debris pile outside the antique store in Bay St Louis.
Waveland Postcard I and the next three images all started with society pages from the Times Picayune (more about those below) and ruined pages from old photo albums. I mounted them on plexiglass with other found papers and colored them with acrylic paints and crayola crayons.
Bird in a Gilded Cage was created from a decorative metal wall plaque, an acrylic leaf and acrylic bird. I took the title from some old song about a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage with an older man.
Society Pages 12. This piece, and the eleven that follow, were begun during the first year after Katrina. At that time, I was still working in the blown out garage on the property owned by my incredible friends, Steve and Brenda Lady. I had salvaged a big pile of scrapbooks with newspaper clippings from the New Orleans Times Picayune Society Section from an antique store in Bay St. Louis. I had collaged them together on more than a dozen sheets of watercolor paper, and never done anything more with them. I pulled those papers out recently, and mounted them on sheets of plexiglass. I adhered old photographs to the front, added some kraft paper around the edges, and started having fun with color crayons and acrylic paints. A few pieces received treatment from some watercolor crayons as well, and for the final touch I adhered nails, coins with the "Katrina Patina", glass tiles from a disco ball I found on the beach, and other oddities to the surfaces of the pieces. I am very happy with the results-these pieces have a richness and depth that is very appealing.
Victorian Fossil began with the piece of fired, unglazed clay I picked out of the debris piles outside the studio of the late potter Talle Johnson. I painted it and paired it with a wood shape and an old, Victorian-looking platter.
Treasures from the Sea began with the small cast mermaid. I paired her with a small wood tray and a silver platter, and added a wood embroidery hoop. Nestled in the box are treasures from my washed-away studio: old jewelry, beads, coins, and a concrete ammonite reproduction.
Seduction has gone through a couple of incarnations. I began with the lid to a metal box with the wonderful image. It is paired with a painted wood bowl, a cheap metal platter and another of sterling silver which was given me by my friend Nancy in Bay St. Louis-it was her wedding silver.
Santo Turquesa features another of my lovely Santos, a Mexican window guard and a salvaged piece of plywood. I chose these colors because they reminded me of my trips to Mexico and to heavily Hispanic areas of San Antonio; the colors on the houses there are breathtaking. SOLD
Saint of Lost Treasures is a piece that contains many of the small treasures I dug out of the mud in the spot where I once had my studio. These treasures include fragments of my jewelry, old hair clasps, beads, coins and a few nails and coins thrown in for good measure. They are all tucked down into a salvaged printing tray and paired with a Santo, some broken necklaces, the handle to a chest of drawers, two legs of a table, and a wood and glass door.
Opium of the Masses is the title that came to mind when I made this small piece featuring the Asian snuff bottle. I paired it with two salvaged picture frames, an image on canvas, and some copper wire.
La Santo de los Tejedores was created from a clay image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a broken wood serving dish, a decorative wood wall piece, an orb of natural fibers and a battered kitchen cabinet door.
Guadalupe del Orbe I was made from a decorative serving platter, a cigar box, coins with the Katrina patina, a wood and paper clay image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, two lids from cans, a metal ring and a seventh coin.
Guadalupe del Orbe II was created using a decorative serving platter, a piece of scrap wood, a cigar box, copper tubes from an old necklace, a wood and paper clay representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a lid to a can, part of an old light fixture and part of a turquoise and sterling squash blossom necklace.
Gabriel's Mask V features a small mask mounted on a gold painted mirror, an acrylic wall piece, the grill to a Weber, and one of those things that are used with old fireplaces-I don't know what they are called.
Gabriel's Mask IV was created using a paper mache mask by legendary New Orleans mask maker Gabriel Q. I acquired a box of these damaged mask after Katrina, and love them. This one was paired with a wood and steel stand and part of a decorative painting.
Folding Icon incorporates a found wood icon, a polymer clay representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and several milagros. I am enamored of milagros (literally "miracles") and use them often in my work.
Fish in a Basket was fashioned from a battered enameled metal fish, an image on canvas, a wood and metal "basket", and a salvaged picture frame. I uncovered several of these fish in a debris pile on the beach road in Bay St. Louis, and have been looking for the perfect companions for them.
Duet was fashioned from a panel from an old piece of Asian furniture, a piece of bead board, a battered butler's tray, and a metal platter that looks to be Indian in design. This is one of my favorite combination of shapes-the circle with the rectabgle-and i return to it again and again. I noticed it first in a beautiful painting by my talented cousin Todd Christensen, and have been enamored of it ever since.
Chinese Landscape was a piece that I started before Katrina, took with me when I evacuated, and finally finished a couple of months ago. I often seek out Chinatowns in my travels, because I love the sights, sound and smells (oh, that lovely dim sum!) of these enclaves. It was made with handmade papers, chopsticks, Chinese coins, Chinese newspapers, organic materials and a salvaged picture frame.
Cairo's Bayou was a beautiful waterway that ran behind our home in Clermont Harbor. We spent many hours back there, throwing a crab net, feeding an egret that befriended us, taking off in our poke boat, or just sitting on the pier, drinking in the lush surroundings. This piece was composed from a small painting on wood, several pieces of scrap plywood, the stretcher frame of a destroyed painting, and a piece of metal shelving.
Barometric Pressure was composed from several pieces of scrap plywood, the feet from a silver serving platter, wire, a blade from a fan, two mismatched earrings, a thermometer, an image on canvas, part of a broken iPhone, a drawer pull, and a face of polymer clay.
The Straight and Narrow was created from a battered piece of plywood, a wood tray, a piece of bamboo, and a fragment of an old collage which somehow survived Katrina. The collage had been made with handmade paper, Chinese coins, dyed cheesecloth and a fragment of a fossil.
Prodigal Son began with the lovely photo of the young man in uniform from one of the world wars. I mounted it on a framed mirror and a distressed picture frame, and surrounded it with wire. This piece speaks to loss and sorrow, but it is also a reflection on what it means to come home from life-changing events.
Petroglyph began with the wood and metal carved animal, perhaps a goat or an antelope. I paired it with a couple of metal discs and a coin, and several wood canisters. I painted designs which echoed the shapes present in the piece. It reminds me of my time living in the Southwest, and of the first time I ever saw some of the magnificent petroglyphs in Utah.
Our Lady of Alambre was fashioned from a bamboo tray which once staton top of my dresser in my home in Clermont Harbor, a metal tray, a small box and oval-shaped piece of metal, rusty bottle caps, milagros, copper wire, a piece of picture frame molding and an acrylic statue of the Virgin Mary. There has long been a substantial Catholic community along the coast, and with the influx of persond from Mexico and Central America, it has grown.
Morning Song was created from a stand which has a series of unknown symbols carved into its surface, a lump of paperclay, a heavily damaged nautilus shell which I had used in my collage workshops, and a carved wood figure of the bird. I was particularly intrigued with the repetition of shapes in this piece, and happy to find a fitting home for my nautilus shell, which had served me well.
Liberty was created from a metal candlestick bird who has lost one of its legs, an acrylic organic form and a damaged platter with an image of the Statue of Liberty. I was intrigued with the bird form because it is unclear what the artists intended; is it a turkey? A crude representation of a peacock?
Good Dog Bad Dog IX was fashioned from one of these great metal key hangers which I salvaged from an antique store on the beach in Bay St. Louis, several rusty bottlecaps, a painted piece of wood. a small suitcase, and three drawer knobs. Pure whimsy here, folks.
Contemplation was put together using an old frame, a metal paint screen, a triangular something-or-another, and a polymer clay head. it references those pesky "boxes" we put ourselves into, without realizing it most of the time.
Collective Unconscious was formed using a printers tray as a base. Nestled in the compartments are small treasures I dug out of the mud; they had been in a metal cabinet in my studio when Katrina hit. There are happy memories here, as well as some sad and frightening ones.