"Here you are, yourself.
And then, gradually-suddenly-surprisingly-frighteningly,
you are not."
My mother has Alzheimers.
My siblings and I have it with her.
We work together to understand what’s happening and make decisions to keep her safe and happy as her ability to do this for herself declines. We live in a world of consultations, networking, planning, problem solving, financial management, and creating new family experiences before it is too late. I am immersed in these activities, and hold my emotions at bay much of the time.
The Alchemical Vessel project changed that. In 2013, The Smith Center & The Joan Hisoaka Healing Art Gallery in Washington DC invited a group of artists to make something with a bowl each of us was given – an "alchemical vessel".
I had no clue what to make. So I made lists and worried about what to do next. The Smith Center briefing triggered ideas, but it was at dinner afterward, with four participating artists, that things jelled. We shared experiences about aging parents with life-altering health issues, and we joked about being an Alchemical Vessel, the five of us, offering support to each other.
By the time I got home I knew my project would be about my mother. What I didn’t yet know was that while I worked through translating the swirl of ideas, words, and questions into three-dimensions, it would also become about me – my own Alchemical Vessel.
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