"IT CAME FROM THE COMPOST HEAP" / by Hayden Michelle

"Abundance",  (5.5 x 8 x 6 inches)

One day, I was emptying vegetable and fruit rind into a well-tended compost pile of a friend, only to discover a vibrant  beauty of a plant growing directly out of the middle of the compost.  I had never seen this plant in my part of the country, and was mesmerized by the glorious gradation of color that existed on this single stalk.  Of course, I ran and got my camera, as if it were going to evaporate by the time I came back...

The seeds on it looked good enough to eat, although the artist whom I was staying with informed me that it was not edible and considered a weed, alluring as it was.  Well, I happen to have deep appreciation for things viewed as needing to be pulled out and discarded...

Carved one seed at a time, I mindfully pondered the carrying this refugee into another dimension, enjoying the slow and deliberate process. I was left with strands of papery outer leaves that needed some grounding, and was happy to have them wrap around and meet to create support and safe structure for this newly emerged being.

As I have continued creating these sculptures and working to strengthen their integrity, I realized that much of my encaustic sculpture process thus far has been to do so without showing how this integrity is achieved.  It occurred to me that this is a strong parallel to how we present ourselves out in society-- trying to keep what holds us together, below the surface.  And rather than hiding the hard work that goes into holding ourselves together,  we have the opportunity to share the importance of that role in our survival and blooming.

As always, I am grateful for the lessons that are taught to me through the making and sharing of art, deepening my self-awareness, as well as the gratitude of being connected with others.  May we all celebrate the thread and stitches that hold us together.