I (Debbie, the mom of Songbird Artistry) am honored to share with you that this week I hit the road to New Hampshire to take part in a group art show, Truth Be Told: an Artful Gathering of Women, featuring the members of The Gathering: 14 female polymer clay artists, seven of whom identify as Black and seven of whom identify as White. The show will be our first opportunity to showcase our works collectively, and it will be on display at the Two Villages Art Society in Concootook, NH, from October 23rd until November 13th. You can join me virtually for a Facebook Live viewing of the opening on October 23rd at 11:00am. Join Here.
The Gathering was borne out of an interview between prominent polymer clay artists Cynthia Tinapple and Debbie Jackson, in which they discussed the issue of racism in America that came to a head after the George Floyd murder and the subsequent unrest of 2020. Recognizing that this should be an ongoing dialogue rather than a one-time discussion, they invited other members of the polymer clay community to join the conversation. We get together over Zoom twice a month. The dialogues have been eye-opening, challenging, sometimes painful, often uncomfortable, frequently sprinkled with laughter and, yes, sometimes, tears. While we haven't solved anything or changed the world, we have made connections with each other around a topic that is difficult to discuss. This feels important. It IS important. Change begins within. One person at a time.
The concept of the show is based on a series of words selected by each artist, that they feel relates to the topics discussed in our conversations. Some of the words include “repair,” “consciousness,” “truth,” and “love.” The word I chose is “legacy,” and I have translated the concept of legacy into my piece for the show.
Legacy: Life is tough and we often are faced with hard choices and decisions. How do we handle those? How does one want to be remembered? When I think of my legacy, it has so many layers, including one that relates to racism. When I die, if someone looked back on my life, would they say I was a racist? A bystander? Would they say I did something? But, the word means so much more to me… I have a granddaughter; what kind of world are we leaving for her and her generation?
In addition to our collaborative word series, I will also be displaying four works that I have created as a collection called She Persists. Included in this set are pieces entitled:
She Persists: Powerful Women
She Persists: Power of Knowledge
She Persists: Women in Power
I finished the final piece in the series shortly before I left for New Hampshire: Eye Persist.
In a world where many of us have a tendency to focus on ourselves, our religion, and our beliefs, would we perhaps see the world differently if we took a step back and instead focused on what we have in common? If we did that, would we treat each other differently? This stained-glass mosaic features a Hamsa, also known as a Hand of Miriam, Hand of God, or Fatima Hand. It is known to be a protective sign that brings its owner happiness, luck, and good fortune. It has been called an amulet or talisman, and many believe it provides protection against evil forces. Just about every country in the world, and most religions, have used this symbol.
In the center of the Hamsa is a heart, a universal symbol of love. The heart is also embedded inside each of us and can include self-love, love of others, love of animals, and a love for Mother Earth. I put my heart into creating this piece. The Tree of Life is also a universal symbol found in many different religions, mythology, and folklore, often connecting the physical and spiritual worlds. Inside the Hamsa, there are two cherry trees symbolizing the love between myself and my late husband, Larry Jacknin. The trees are individual, yet touch each other, just as his life touched mine. The trees have roots, which symbolize our children and grandchildren.
The butterfly represents my ancestors. My grandmother, who always loved butterflies, gave me a hand-painted lamp and green wine glasses, which broke. I saved some of the glass and incorporated bits of the green glass into the tree of life. The lessons she and others have taught me live deep within my soul. The yellow raised butterflies are made from pieces saved from the broken lamp. No doubt, what may seem broken can still be meaningful and beautiful.
I am the hummingbird. Now on my own. I have found my wings and I fly freely.
All pieces shown here can be printed on shirts, bibs, onesies, and masks. More info here.
Frames by Bobby of B.Z Wood Craft