Cord
2008
Approx. 1/4"-2" in diameter (varies), 100 ft long
Fabric, cast-iron tub, water, soap, steel brackets, tar paper
Sculpture, Performance, and Installation
Collaboration with ArtThresholds

I started Cord by carefully digging at the base of an old cedar tree. Tying a piece of red cotton fabric to a deep thick root, I began braiding and weaving a long red rope: a touched, worked, loved line. It grew, moving through the yard and into the gallery, touching nature and inviting the viewer to touch it. I worked different fabrics into the winding rope—cotton, flannel, silk organza, satin. As I worked, I thought about my maternal lineage, the blood and fluids of birth, my sister’s braids, my grandmother’s wrinkles, and my desire to physically create and touch a cord connecting me to Mother Earth.

Six months after installation, the cord was weathered and dirty from being outside in the gallery yard. I wanted to wash it, to lovingly clean it, and do it as performance. Beginning as a sculptural installation of tub and cord, during a group performance the cord was unwound from it’s ‘spool’ above the tub into a spiral on the floor. Later, I got into the tub and washed the cord, pulling and washing it bit by bit until the whole thing was in the tub with me, and the water turned red. As I bathed the cord, two other female artists sat behind me, one braiding my hair and the other braiding hers. Lineage, tenderness, connection. I then wound the heavy, dripping sculpture back on the spool. After the performance, it was a kinetic and auditory sculpture as the water dripped into the tub from the wet cord.

Click image to enlarge.