Putting the pieces back together
“Putting the pieces back together” is a healing art piece that has been created to help when dealing with loss and grief.
During such a challenging life experience, we navigate through the intense emotions of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, which eventually lead to acceptance and the ability to move forward. Self-care and preservation are of the most importance, and putting together the pieces of a broken heart may help remind ourselves of who we are, and why we matter.
“I developed an interaction with this Eucalyptus as I experienced an unexpected loss in my life. I noticed its fallen branches that collapsed on the ground, and all the broken bark laying around. Using compressed soil to form a bas-relief in the shape of a heart, I collected and arranged some of the shattered pieces and turned them into a mosaic. Examining and rearranging what we have left, allows us to create a new base for our unforeseen future, which will reveal itself in time.
May this piece help you heal, and find yourself again.”
This environmental art piece started at the Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz.
I gathered broken pieces of bark from a large Eucalyptus, and arranged them together, like a mosaic. The resulting texture evokes cobblestones and lizard skin.
Note that I created this abstract piece one day prior to my heart getting broken.
As I have been navigating the roller coaster of conflicting emotions that came from a sudden and unexpected major loss in my life, I started to envision a heart shaped piece. I would use the mosaic technique to express the idea of putting the pieces back together. A compressed soil base will hold the pieces of bark in place.
I collected samples on site, which I used to make a prototype in my studio.
The soil – which is mostly clay in this part of California – has been cleaned up, water has been added, and I manually compressed lumps and assembled them in the shape of a heart. I then added the bark on top, and pressed the pieces into the earth base.
The prototype has been presented at the Open Studio at UC Santa Cruz. A string connected the piece to the campus map, to reveal the location of the on-site version that I am building at the Arboretum.
Meanwhile, at the Arboretum…
Construction, session 1 – It took me a while to decide where the installation would go. After walking around for a while, I returned to the Eucalyptus where everything started and realized that’s where the heart belongs. The location is slightly out of the way, which is a protected spot for a healing process.
Construction, session 2 – I tried to make a wooden structure by weaving branches, bark, and grasses together, but I ended up deciding it wasn’t necessarily the best way to construct that piece. Instead I collected soil (thanks to the gophers and the ground squirrels who dig around, so I don’t have to). I mixed it with water, and laid down a first layer.
Construction, session 3 – I replicated the process I used for the prototype: I added water to some soil and I literally got my hands dirty, forming lumps and shaping them as an outside wall for the heart shape. Then I poured two layers of a more liquid mix inside the wall. I added a more solid little heart in the center (the heart of the heart) under which I placed some of my hair, as a gift to the earth and a connection to the place. By then the rain has gotten quite heavy, and I was soaked when I left!
Construction, session 4 – coming soon…