It’s hard to know where the painting process begins or ends. I constantly unravel memories, overlay memories, patch fragments, and try to stitch it all together. When I'm working, the process often feels more like the final product than the piece itself.
These days, the work brings me back to Memphis, where I was born and raised. I usually don't think too much about Memphis but my mind is flooded with memories of the South. Maybe it was the drive back home after my father died. Or maybe it's the energy in the streets that recalls the marches of the Civil Rights Movement. Or maybe it's because I want to give my baby a sense of her history.
It’s all the little things: soft morning air before the sun starts beating down, gospel songs and baptist choirs, my dad’s laugh, wildflowers on back roads, fireflies before the sun sets, the first time my baby kicked, cicadas singing, cotton fields that look like snow in September. It’s the journey of how all the pieces land together. And it's my effort to sew up the spaces in-between.
For these paintings, I’m moving at a slower pace. I dye fabric with beets, teas, onion peels, and kitchen scraps. I get my hands messy, mixing colors from my memories. I stitch fabrics together and stretch them tight across wooden frames. The work is heavily inspired by the women of Gee's Bend. I love everything about what they do - the pace, the colors, the imperfections, the way they sew their histories into their quilts. I love that they aren’t trying to be perfect. I love that the quilts are about spreading love and creating community. They make me feel safe and grounded.
And that's my intention here too. I want to remember my history and show it to my daughter so we never forget where we come from.