This collection represents home to me, on several different levels.   Below you will see the pieces that move from a grand scale to the local – The United States, Georgia, Dalton, and the immigration process that made this so for me.

Independence Day is a time when we can look back to the birth of this country, when the hope and promise of this grand experiment was new and untried. Our history books as well as recent days have shown that those ideals and reality are frequently widely separated, however with compassion and understanding we can work to bridge that gap. This will be my first Independence Day as an american citizen. As I think back on the ceremony last August that made me so, I recall that I teared up when I spoke, for the first time, the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag that inspired this piece. WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

Last summer I became a US citizen. I arrived here 40 years ago, coming here with my parents and siblings after having previously moved about the globe several times. In spite of having lived here for so long, it was not until I officially turned my residence into citizenship that I felt my roots here truly begin to sprout. At the end of those many moves I now find myself living in the South, specifically Georgia, and in honor of my new state of mind, I have made this piece in honor of this State, specifically it’s peachiness.

At the center you’ll find the pit with its craggy surface. The flesh by the nut is stained red before it melts into golden sweet fruit, and all is jacketed in a soft velvet of reds, oranges and browns.

Long before I moved to Dalton, I knew that it was known as the carpet capital of the world. It came to be this because about a hundred years ago the area became famous for chenille bedspreads with peacock designs – dubbing the area “Peacock Alley” and eventually transforming into carpet manufacturing. It wasn’t a huge leap for me to think of making a peacock themed piece as they are now a bit of a mascot in Dalton, with our downtown dotted with artful peacock statues and a lovely peacock mural on a prominent building. This piece was even woven with some fiber that was once intended to become a carpet. Many believe that the eyes of a peacock’s tail feathers can offer safety as they watch over you, while others see them as an evil eye. I choose to feel comfort as it watches over me. It would not be a stretch to say that we all could use a little of that feeling these days.

The Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy and a welcoming icon for countless immigrants to this country. As an immigrant myself, I have always been touched by Emma Lazarus’s poem The New Colossus that so meaningfully cries

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

History books teach us that this idealistic welcome did always not ring true as many immigration waves were not so easily accepted by the communities they met. Time, patience and understanding went a long way towards correcting that. Did you know that when Lady Liberty was first erected in the New York Harbor that she was as shiny as a new copper penny? It’s true; can you even imagine it? Time and the elements worked on her for 30 years until she developed the beautiful green patina that we all now associate with her. If her caretakers has passionately determined that she should stay the same as she was first made, what would have been the cost in time, money and effort? What lessons can we take from her? To be open-hearted to all who cross our path. That the foundations of this country were build on the ideals of inclusion. To believe that change can be wonderful and look to the promise of the future that all Americans, whether new or old, can build together.

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