The transcendence presented by the miniature is a special transcendence, a transcendence that erases the productive possibilities of understanding through time. Its locus is thereby the nostalgic. - Susan Stewart
The Temporary Nature of Things considers notions of beauty, nostalgia, impermanence, and passing time.
Motivated by the deterioration of memory and how this is represented nostalgically through miniature objects, the exploration comprises an installation of jewelry and objects, made one a day, over the course of one year.
The collection began on 27 March 2007 and ended 26 March 2008, each piece embodies a reflection on the nature of that day; be it a response to literal organic forms found in the environment or the introspective contemplation of aspects of the human condition.
Idealistically intended to discover the poetry in the everyday and the little things that might otherwise pass one by, these daily forms came to abstractly exemplify contemplations on life, time, and indeed, temporality. Three major pieces accompany the collection, comprising a series of mourning jewelry that respond to the journey of the everyday experience recorded by the miniatures. Embodying the collective memories of the past year, the Mourning Series are essentially reconstructions that tell a story of how this past year is to be remembered; they provide closure to a particular chapter in time.
I remember as a small child in primary school, participating in a project to plant seeds to grow trees. We each chose seeds from a native plant and placed them in several envelopes with a message attached to each, asking that the seeds be planted so a new tree might grow. The seeds were attached to small balloons filled with helium and cast into the sky to be taken where the wind blew them… This is how I look at the completion of this project. These small objects will be cast out, with no knowledge of who might eventually pick them out to ‘plant’ them into their lives…The original intention is transferred, meaning is reinterpreted, but the object hopefully lives on, mediated by the hand of another; a new story begins.
THIS IS WHAT I WROTE BEFORE STARTING THE PROJECT:
My final project The Temporary Nature of Things involves making a piece a day for one year, culminating in an installation that explores my journey in Indiana.
Originally, the concept was based on an attempt to find the beauty and poetry in the everyday, the small things in life, and discovering and noticing the things that might otherwise go unnoticed. 2007 The Small Things These ‘things’ would become part of a collection that would take on a new life once each object is viewed or worn by each individual. It was also an attempt to challenge myself every day, to generate my own, distinct creative habit.
Now, the project has come to encompass my emotional reactions and reflections on daily life. Despite being more an extension of my mind and heart than I was originally intending, I believe this addition adds to the power of the overall project as a reflection of daily human existence.
"WHAT WE HOLD IN COMMON GIVES MEANING TO OUR UNIQUENESS, AS WELL AS A PLATFORM FROM WHICH TO COMPARE AND UNDERSTAND THAT UNIQUE VISION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN." - TIM MATHER
As a result, this collection speaks of the human condition, specifically focusing on what drives us, our perceptions of beauty, fragility and the temporality of life, of time (beginning and end), of everyday reactions and emotion, of routine, repetition and failure. What we do everyday, what we make time for, what is important. It’s about looking back at what we experience. How do we interpret our life? What might we do differently if we could go back? Would I change anything? Would it make a difference anyway?
For the project I created a set of ‘obstructions’:
• Each object must be initiated (brainstormed, researched, conceived) and made that day and cannot extend into the next • Each object is miniature in scale and must be worn on or relate to the body in some way • Each object is stamped or marked with the date of the day it was made • Once made, each object will be wrapped, bagged, dated and stored. I won't look at the piece until the project is complete • Each object must be titled and recorded that day • Each object is accompanied by a small book with an epigrammatical statement (based on haiku) and picture • If I identify a ‘crutch’ I abandon using that material for a while • The colour scheme will predominantly be monochromatic grey scale • I must keep asking questions, challenging myself and reflect on criticism • Anyone wanting to view the work could do so if interested, as long as I didn’t see it
The reasoning to conceal the object until completion deals with exploring ideas of memory, and not having the opportunity in life to lay out in front of you what has gone before to direct what you might do that day or in the future; all you are able to judge that by are your memories and relics you may have collected along the way.
Also, I want to aesthetically drive the project by reflecting on what I have done rather than by observing and predicting change or patterns. In addition to the 366 pieces for each day, the final installation will include 5-8 major pieces that will reflect back on the journey of the everyday experience, which I hope to exhibit as crop lines in the gallery. The crop configuration reflects the landscape of the Midwest, as well as a metaphor for the seasons, growth, change, temporality, regeneration; the cycles of life. And really, there isn’t life without change and evolution, and I want to express a year of life that is my own, but that could be related to by any person…