Collaborations with Roberta

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This body of work grew out of my receipt of an old suitcase stuffed full of  my mother’s old school papers and artwork from her elementary school days at Spring Valley School, a one-room school house in rural Waitsburg for the farm kids in that area.   Found several months after her death in 2006 by her husband Carroll Adams in their garage in Walla Walla, it must have been collected by my grandmother, Helen Stonecipher.   I had never seen it.


I began making ballpoint pen drawings with collage elements in a hand-made paper sketchbook, then superimposing those onto her old papers, using purified beeswax.   I had been working with this medium with my drawings for the past several years;  used here, it became a way of protecting, preserving  and beautifying this work.  It was a way to keep “talking” to Mom.  It kept her very present.


Continuing the conversation, I made direct copies of her artwork on black scratchboard, scratching off the inked surface with a blade, mounting them on sixteen small canvases.  I made a larger diorama multiple piece, using her “stuff” and old photographs mounted in panel boxes beeswaxed over copies of my own artwork.  These exist for me as family shrines.


This feels like coming full circle as an artist.  I am honored to show this work in Waitsburg, in this vital new space, and to acknowledge how much my own history has defined who I am.