I work under the influence of that which I am by inheritance: artist, environmentalist, gardener, seamstress and activist.
After a three-decade exploration of the objects, techniques and traditions used to remember human loved ones, I have shifted my focus to document leaves of beloved decidous tree species threatened by climate change, disease and insect introductions, landscaping trends, and commercial interests.
Botanical nomenclature and place of the source tree(s) title the works.
Materials and processes developed for my “Memento” and Arrangement” series are used in honor of my mother for whom handmade stitches were love notes held in homemade clothing, for my brother with the use of guitar-strings, and for my father who fostered my love of trees.
Arrangements & Mementos
Memory: Flowers, Music, Belongings
The shared human ability and desire to remember transcends self-differentiating definitions. My works are meditations on memory; where flowers, music and belongings serve as its repository, and are arranged within a numeric cadence inspired by the sacred geometry of Gothic cathedral rose windows, religious prayer beads, nature, and 6 & 12 string guitars. The circular forms and compositions reflect the seamless continuum of ritual that binds the past to the present, and the present to the future. Mirroring the Buddhist mandala form, the circular shape enveloped by the square background of the “Arrangements” characterizes the infinite within the finite. Nineteenth century memento mori hair jewelry and contemporary makeshift memorial shrines are referenced.
Clothing, jewelry and buttons are among the materials now used which join the ongoing repertoire of symbolically significant materials. Guitar-strings are used as a dedication to my brother, Scot Sharrett (1961-2001), as are the song titles chosen to name the works. His collection of hundreds of guitar-string ball-ends inspired my Arrangement series which was developed during my November 2001 residency at Weir Farm.
A variety of needlework techniques are used, including hand sewing, quilting, embroidery, crochet and needlelace. I am indebted to the venerable needlework sorority that joins women throughout history and is found in every culture; where knowledge of stitches and patterns are taught in intimate gatherings and are passed from one generation to the next; a sorority which includes my mother and grandmother who taught me.
The “Mementos” series (1998-2001), was dedicated to my mother, Virginia Sharrett. Phrases from her letters title the works. This series was developed during my 1998 residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts.Acknowledgements
Natural Materials (Bone beads, Dirt, Garnet, Hair, Roses, Willow branches): Gifts of: Bette Alexander, Lisa Breslow, Julie Brunner Cross, Jack Conrad, Nancy Curcio & Nicholas Mann, Suzanne Dunay, Marie Flores, Bruce & Dite Garrison, Melissa Green, Jennifer Johnson, Ken Kamber, Marion Wilson, Pavel ZoubokNotes: Since 2001 dirt has been used as a material for the biblical reference, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” in response to the World Trade Center recovery effort occurring while I was sorting through my brother’s belongings following his death on 9/2/2001.
Guitar, Harp & Violin Strings: Gifts of: Louise Beach/Brian Skarstad/Skarstad Violins, Paul Bloomstrom, Elizabeth Callen, Jessa Callen, Mike Corso, Tom Crandall, Larry Deming, Nekia Caprice Fox, Abby Gardner, Fred Gillen Jr., Lara Herscovitch, Jake Jones, Shane Konen, Nicholas Mann, Bill Massof, Rob Moore, Christopher Pappas, Ross Richter, Scot Sharrett, Rod Teets, Brad Travis, Jack van der Mark, Mark Wasserman, Tracey Wilson, Jenna Young
Against the Wind, 1980, Bob Seger; Alison, 1977, Elvis Costello; Always, 1925, Irving Berlin; Angie, 1973, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards; Anywhere, 2002, Beth Orton; A Song for You, 1969, Leon Russell; Beth, 1976, Kiss; Bluebird, 1967, Stephen Stills; Born to Rock, 1984, Scot Sharrett; Box of Rain, 1970, Phil Lesh/Robert Hunter; Buckets of Rain, 1974, Bob Dylan; Changes, 1971, David Bowie; Clocks, 2002, Coldplay; Dancing Barefoot, 1979, Patti Smith and Ivan Kral; Destiny, 2001, Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, Dream On, 1973, Steven Tyler; Faded Memory, 2001, Scot Sharrett; Fever, 1956, Eddie Cooley/Otis Blackwell;Fields of Gold, 1993, Sting; Fire and Rain, 1969, James Taylor; For a Dancer, 1974, Jackson Browne; Forever Young, 1974, Bob Dylan; Freebird, 1973, Allen Collins/Ronnie Van Zant; Get It While You Can, 1967, Jerry Ragovoy; Gloria, 1964, Van Morrison; Guinnevere, 1969, David Crosby; Harvest Moon, 1991, Neil Young; Heart of Gold, 1971, Neil Young; I Think of You, 1986, Scot Sharrett; Ice Cream, 1993, Sarah McLachlan; Imagine, 1971, John Lennon; In My Life, 1965, John Lennon/Paul McCartney; In the Sun, 2000, Joseph Arthur; Isis,1975, Bob Dylan; Jane Says, 1987, Jane’s Addiction; Jessica, 1973, Dickey Betts; Just Breathe, 2009, Pearl Jam; Little Wing, 1967, Jimi Hendrix; Lola, 1970, Ray Davies; Long May You Run, 1976, Neil Young; Love and Affection, 1976, Joan Armatrading; Love is a Rose, 1974, Neil Young; Lovesong, 1989, Robert Smith, Lol Lolhurst, Purl Thompson, Rger O’Donnell, Boris Willliams; Maggie May, 1971, Rod Stewart/Martin Quittenton; Magnificent, 2008, U2/Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois; Michelle, 1965, Paul McCartney/John Lennon; Moondance, 1970, Van Morrison; No Longer Mine, 1985, Scot Sharrett; Nothing Else Matters, 1992, Metallica; Ooh Child, 1970, Stan Vincent; Ophelia, 1975, Robbie Robinson; Poetry Man, 1974, Phoebe Snow; Praise You, 1998, Norman Cook/Camille Yarbrough; Passionate Kisses, 1988, Lucinda Williams; Ramble On, 1969, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant; Rosalita, 1973, Bruce Springsteen; Roundabout, 1971, Jon Anderson/Chris Squire; Scarlet Begonias, 1974, Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia; Sexy Sadie, 1968, John Lennon; Silence, 2007, PJ Harvey; Simple Twist of Fate, 1974, Bob Dylan; Smooth, 1999, Itaal Shur/Rob Thomas; Spoonful, 1960, Willie Dixon; Suzanne, 1966, Leonard Cohen; Sweet Jane, 1970, Lou Reed; The Circle Game, 1966, Joni Mitchell; The Long Black Veil, 1959, Marijohn Wilken/Danny Dill; The Wind, 1971, Cat Stevens; This is Love, 2000, PJ Harvey; Tiny Dancer, 1971, Elton John/Bernie Taupin; Turn the Page, 1973, Bob Seger; Turn, Turn, Turn, 1959, Pete Seeger; Victoria, 1969, Ray Davies; Wicked Game, 1989, Chris Isaak; Wild Horses, 1970, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards; Wild World, 1970, Cat Stevens; Will the Circle Be Unbroken, 1907, Ada Ruth Habershon/Charles Hutchinson Gabriel; Wing, 1996, Patti Smith; Wish You Were Here, 1975, David Gilmour/Roger Walters; Without Her, 1971, Harry Nilsson; Yellow, 2000, Coldplay; Your Song, 1973, Elton John/Bernie Taupin
Photography: Margaret Fox, Tim Grajek