Heartberries: it starts with a collage

June 29, 2019

This is the center section of the collage: A girl in pink with huge goblet full of strawberries. She holds one. She stares into space, contemplating, daydreaming, imagining. She contemplates each one of these berries then puts it into the big woven basket. Each berry represents an idea, something worth considering, perhaps something to represent in clay. One at a time. Hundreds of them.

Behind her is the open red door, the way to and from the mysteries and histories of her heart. She has come out of the open door; she contemplates berries; she will go back inside with a little more understanding.

I encountered the name “heartberries” some months after making this collage, reading a book of the same name, then encountered it again in a wonderful book called Braiding Sweetgrass. Both books are by Native American women; strawberries are heartberries.

The door is in the basement of a church. This I recognized from a dream. The basement of a church is where the work gets done. It’s all hands on, a foundation for what’s upstairs. It’s for people who maintain things, make and share food, take out the garbage, teach the children. Authentic spiritual work.

From here, “Heartberries” take several forms, both in collaged images and clay pieces over a period of months.heartberry collage

Story Shirt

July 24, 2018

story shirt

Another piece that originated in the March workshop. See blog post of 3/27/18. The piece is 29″ x 15″ x 12″.


July 24, 2018

Listen tapir bird

Here’s the piece that started with the collage from the March workshop. The bird is an Oystercatcher. It’s sitting on the baby tapir’s back, whispering in its ear. 20″ x 16″ x 9″

Looking Back, Moving Forward

April 22, 2018

Looking back moving forward

The threat is passed, but not forgotten. She’s still alert to dangers. Her trusty instinctual steed can be counted on to move her forward even as it steps off the log that bridges “then” and “now”. See the sketch for this piece on “Image Journal” post.


April 22, 2018

ferrying 2

This is the last of the “Foreign Bodies” body of work. Two tigers ferry the remains of the invaders as new life springs forth from them.

ferrying detail

Renewal Rabbit

April 9, 2018

This piece, “Renewal”, started out as my demo rabbit during one of our Maker Monday studio classes. I decided to make it part of my “Foreign Bodies” body of work, which I did by bringing in the labyrinth motif and bird skeleton images again (see previous post) and pulling image inspiration from my humungous c-diff collage, shown below. The collage chronicles my illness from pain and disruption to renewal and rebirth.

3 c-diff collage-accordian

Point of Departure

April 9, 2018

Departure turtle bottomDeparture turtle top

“Departure” is another piece from the “Foreign Bodies” exploration of my c-diff experience. The turtle or tortoise is a reliable vehicle to transport the bird skeleton, which could represent the soul, and certainly expresses vulnerability, as it is stripped down to its essence. On the bottom of the turtle there’s a labyrinth, a path for contemplation. While sick I realized there is just no hurrying these things; I was forced to surrender to the process of the illness and recovery.

Tapir in Trouble

March 27, 2018

5 tapir coll sketch maq

The wondrous black and white critter shown in the collage on the left is a tapir on the verge of extinction. I gave him a rider who’s looking out for him, trying to get him out of danger. Then I made the clay piece, a small maquette, or model, then the sketch on paper. Next I’ll do this piece, or something like it, bigger.

These are the steps introduced in my two-day creative process workshop. You want to know when the next workshop is? Check my website: saraswink.com.

Story Shirt

March 27, 2018

6 Story shirt coll sketch maq

Collage, clay sketch, sketch on paper, words

From another page in my image journal, zebra in story shirt walks the yellow brick road accompanied by Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture. Then came the clay sketch, painted with black underglaze, scratched through: aka, sgraffito. Next the sketch on paper, the beginning of the process of developing the idea for execution in clay. I write some bits of my story, bring in words inspired by other parts of the collage. I will sketch and write and revisit repeatedly until it feels original, all mine, even though I have borrowed from others to start the process.

Unruly Animus

March 27, 2018

4 image journal page 1

Ricky Gervais, the Possum and Art Shows

Open the cover of my image journal and here’s page 1. On the right is part of my collage; on the left are a couple of sketches in which I’m starting to think about how I might turn this into a clay piece. Maybe the possum will be playing possum, maybe instead of baby possums on its back, it will have a bunch of little heads for Ricky-baby to stand on. Someone like this Ricky  has shown up in my dreams as an undeveloped and troublesome animus character who is out of control and taunts me. I suppose playing dead is one strategy for dealing (or not dealing) with him.