Grandmother Rattle

Grandmother Rattle :: 12 x 16 x 6 inches :: 2013 :: Private collection

Paper is my preferred sculptural medium: it’s non-toxic, compostable, and so delicate as to seem almost alive. But it has drawbacks, including fragility and edibility (beware of insects, mice, and curious pets).

I created this paper/sunflower seed/acrylic paint/thread/gold leaf Grandmother Rattle for myself, at a time when I was especially interested in the use of drums and rattles to pursue shamanic trance states. Portland, Oregon was my home when I made it, and after one long, rainy weekend, I realized something unfortunate: that the papier mache had gone slightly soft in the Pacific Northwest humidity, robbing the rattle of its… well, its rattle. The piece retained its shape and color, but when shaken the sound was downright woeful. About two seconds after realizing this, I thought: this rattle belongs in New Mexico (my previous home).

I contacted a good friend who I thought might be interested in the rattle, and explained the situation. She happily agreed to take it in, offering a dry Southwestern home. I shipped the rattle off, feeling relieved.

And that’s how Grandmother Rattle ended up back in New Mexico.

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