Occupying Memory
Mojave National Preserve Visitor Center in Kelso, CA
Made during a National Park Artist Residency, this installation and collection of sculptures explored basket weaving techniques and life in the high desert of southern California. Through material experimentation and sensory experiences, I explored the ways that tactile practices link people and places together, and the ways that meaning and usage of materials change over time. The installation was constructed from garbage and other discarded items found along desert roads outside of Kelso, California. Several textile works were part of the exhibition, each of which explored different parts of the surrounding environment. I created three baskets for the purposes of learning coiling and twining: two universally-practiced basketry techniques that were some of humankind’s first explorations of weaving. My research on-site consisted of long solo hikes and visits to the Chemehuevi and Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservations, where basketmaking communities still practice traditional techniques. A portion of this project continues, and documentation of currently-practicing Chemehuevi basket makers is in process. Thank you to Leroy Fisher, Sugie Fisher, Weeji Claw, Abby Eddy, Matt Leivas, and Anna Ochoa for their support.

"Twined" triangular tray, inspired by a shape often used for winnowing (separating nuts from their shells during the roasting process).

"Prayer for the Canyon." Made from two bedsheets that I slept on during my time in the desert. On them, I repeatedly wrote several lines from a Wordsworth poem about the interaction between danger and beauty. I left one out in the sun in the desert, and one out in the snow in Boston. They came together after being outdoors in separate climates for 6 months.

Sewn memory depicting the view out of my window, looking towards the Providence Mountains. Thread, plastic wrap, patchworked curtain.

hand-dyed shawl made from linen, scavenged fabric, earth, sand, and acrylic paint.

traditional Chemehuevi basket weaving materials: desert willow and devil's claw. They are shown here unprocessed.

Sketchbook research pages completed during the residency

"coiled" basket made from and unraveled sweater and deconstructed computer cables. This style of basketmaking evolved universally throughout early human cultures. It is one of the many fiber techniques that unify most of human history, along with "twining" (shown in both baskets pictured above).

Desert willow growing outside the home of Sugie Fisher in Parker, Arizona. There, I observed baskets made by  multi-generational basket makers with whom I am continuing to do research. An extension of this project is in process, and other basketry-related research imagery will be released upon its completion, in agreement with the Tribal government.

Watermelon grown in the Chemehuevi Reservation's farm. This community resides the shores of Lake Havasu, which is a man-made lake on the Colorado River that was created by flooding a large portion of ancestral Chemehuevi land, an action that forced families and basket makers to flee to other towns. Only recently has this displacement been federally recognized by the U.S. government. Information about this Tribal history was posted as part of the installation.

Where I lived for the duration of the residency: winter in the high desert of Kelso, California. The Providence mountains can be seen in the distance to the east.

experiments in "twining" made with various industrial and scavenged materials.