"Microcosms" / by Hayden Michelle

"Tiny Forests in a Big World", 2016, (11 x 19 x 10 inches)


As the summer quickly came to an end, I completed some pieces started months ago… the first involving ornamentation of found bone, bleached and fossilized by the ocean.  I pondered its history as I reflected on my own, in the light of losing my mother and reflecting on my own mortality.  My mind reflected on these vital frames and the similarities and differences which are evident in our own biological families.  I thought of the strength of bone, its integrity enabling the support of all that it carries, and how this stable foundation carries us forward on the many paths in our lives.  Because their beauty and form do not become revealed until long after death, I realized I often do not remember to take time to offer gratitude for the amazing job my bones perform for me day after day, so it made me smile to add ornamentation as some bit of homage to their quiet awesomeness…

"In These Bones"", (detail)

"In These Bones", (detail)

"In These  Bones", 2016, (4 x 18 x 5 inches)

 

Coming from a large family, I have the privilege of watching many nieces and nephews grow into adulthood, and sit back, amazed, as I witness their unfolding.  They are traveling across worlds, near and far, to dive deeply, explore new cultures, and to go inward and know themselves more fully.  They are choosing what kind of lives they want to live, empowered by a true sense of choice in who they are becoming.  I not only feel floored by their courage to go into the unfamiliar, but am inspired to keep exploring my own world, inside and out, in ways that I may have not ever before have considered feasible.  It is such a wonderful experience to feel inspired by their openness and hunger for broadening their perspectives.  I respect my siblings as they bravely continue to encourage this freedom to deeply explore life in its myriad of ways.  Such permission to just be, and let the plan evolve as it becomes more apparent.  I feel fortunate to learn and be energized by their examples-- in the parenting of my young children, and in how I continue to make choices in how I create my evolving life. 

"Stand in the Place You Need to Be", (2016), (8 x 14 x 5 inches)

"Stand in the Place You Need to Be", (detail)

"Stand in the Place You Need to Be", (detail)

"Stand in the Place You Need to Be", (alternate view)

 

As I watch them grow older and move to where they are called, I reflect on my own path, which grows roots more deeply, planted in the hills of Kentucky.  I journey alongside my children as they deepen their connections to others and to the beauty that surrounds us in nature.  I started a series of works that delves into these explorations of our forests, both inner and outer, as we bond with and explore the land on which we live, and deepen our sense of knowing ourselves individually, as a family, and as a community.  As my children grow more into their own personhood every day, and I, my own, I feel much joy, as well as the range of all emotions that inevitably come, as we navigate these unchartered territories.

"Tiny Forests in a Big World", (detail)

"Tiny Forests in a Big World", (detail)

"Tiny Forests in a Big World", (alternate view)

"Tiny Forests in a Big World", (detail)

"Tiny Forests in a Big World", 2016, (11 x 19 x 10 inches)

 

And this brings me back full circle to “I feel it in my bones”, a phrase I heard repeatedly as I worked on embellishing the bone with tiny droplets of wax, elemental in their origin and beauty, adding a timeless essence to the bone, taking on a new life.  I know I am on the right track in continuing to pursue my art, as every time I work on it either in my mind or actively through my hands, a powerful sense of validation is felt in my own bones.  I offer much gratitude for the inspiration that comes from my family, friends, other artists, writers, and of course, nature… the never-ending flow of creative energy out there which brings that which lives in my own bones, alive… 

"In These Bones", (detail)



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