For my Art Therapy class we had to make a self-portrait; so I made this.
(please don’t judge my disgusting feet)
We also had to write a paper about it; so I wrote this.
I wanted to make something little, something that could be transported easily, something that felt intimate and personal, safe yet uncomfortable. I’ve been feeling all of those things lately.
I like to be in a ball. I sleep curled up in the fetal position; I sit on my feet. When my limbs are all close to my body I am most comfortable, I have the most control. This is always how I’ve carried myself; it is very childlike and submissive but it in the most natural state for me to be in.
I’ve been thinking of these positions in relationship to where they occur and have come to the conclusion that I nest. Since I was a little girl, I would find a spot, not necessarily secluded but far enough away from the action, and curl up. I would nest in my blankets, in the grass, in the wildflowers, in the creek, in the backseat of our car – everywhere. My favorites were outside though; I have always loved being in and apart of nature.
These nests make a lot of sense when I think about my personality. I am an only child and because of this I’ve always kept to myself. Over the years I’ve gained the skill of being content in stillness. Quiet doesn’t bother me; in fact I often crave a lack of noise. I was always my own playmate growing up, as I reached high school I often choose to cuddle up and read on the weekends, when college came I was perfectly fine with sitting in my dorm room painting my nails. It is not that I am anti-social (I have plenty of friends) it’s just that I highly value one on one time with these people. Close personal relationships are very important to me. I am not a party girl – just the idea of going clubbing makes my skin crawl. I would rather sit on the couch with my roommate sipping coffee and discussing the meaning of life then throwing back a six-pack any day. There has been many times when I’ve gotten overwhelmed and just had to step away. This summer at an outdoor concert with friends I snuck away to an empty spot on the curb and just looked up at the stars. Other times I’ve climbed trees or found nice rocks to perch on. I like being connected with nature, I like feeling mud between my toes, and water as it runs over my feet, cool grass and morning dew. When I nest I become closer to the earth and in turn closer to my creator (nesting has become a very meditative thing for me).
My self-portrait is a reflection of all of those things. I wanted to create a piece that looked to others how nesting feels to me. It is tiny place for me to exist only briefly. These are not permanent structures, like skyscrapers or damns, but instead fragile environments that move when I do. I wanted the piece to fit into your hand and feel good there – light but weighty. I tried to make something that begged to be touched, because that’s how I feel about the places I choose to nest. I am drawn in by how I think something will feel: a smooth rock, crunchy leaves, plush moss. Sometimes I’m attracted to a space by how the light is hitting it: a pool of water, morning sun through my window, blades of grass. It was my hope to make something that others could hold in their hands and meditate on for a while. It is not intended to be a work about a sad girl who has separated herself from the rest of the world, but instead a girl who likes to wander, think and explore. That girl is me.
It all seemed pretty insightful, so I thought I’d share.