I still love this piece. Interestingly enough, because I can’t and don’t say that often about finished work. The lightbulb that went on for me this week was that I had spent so much time WRITING about it - a practice that I don’t typically engage with.
Some history. This was for a show called, The Dress Said It All. Each invited artist was to create a piece and write a short essay from the point of view of the piece. (I’ve included the essay here as well.)
I think that I still find resonance with this piece because it is the perfect storm of honed skills, beauty and content. The location where this fracking leak occurred was researched, identified and mapped. The color alignment of grays in the hazard zone with the vibrancy of the land water continues to tell the story. This piece was challenging from a construction standpoint, but it was something that I spent time working out in my mind while on walks and runs. Working and reworking the language for the essay etched my emotional thoughts about the land and this subject into the experience of creating seeing this piece. The one note aspect for me is its shape. It is beautiful, though the unconventional shape makes it difficult to show or sell. I have toyed with a series of dress pieces.
I know that there are two sides to every story. In my story, great wealth came to the people of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota in the form of gas wells and drilling. The oil companies poured money into this area that changed the lives of the people in a meaningful way. But there are accidents, fires and leaks that put a very physical mark on the land. In December 2012, the well blew an oily mist in very close proximity to Lake Sakakawea, a water body that flows into the Missouri River.
It is hard to dress up the story of my community when the earth bears the stains of pollution, environmental damage, toxins in our water and damage to the very ground where the food we eat is grown. I am a garment of the world - a small corner of rural North Dakota, but my fabric is the story that is being told over and over where there is wealth in the lands. The stains cannot be removed.
stains cannot be removed
42” x 38”
hand dyed cotton, stitched