WHAT A LIFE I LEAD IN THE SPRING
“What a Life I Lead in the Spring” was created for the Annual Spring Arts Festival that takes place on the Warren Wilson College campus nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m concerned with the exploration of my queer identity with a focus on topics of memory, domesticity, and historical traditions of southern Americana. I often utilize objects to help locate a history or sense of place that often speaks to the American South, specifically Appalachia. This piece is an exploration of seasonality in the mountains. What happens to one’s body in the springtime? What happens to plant bodies in the springtime? What happens to land bodies in the springtime? There is often growth and renewal that takes place during the spring season and that was a larger embodiment of what I wanted to explore through these actions.
On a rainy spring day, holding a wooden basket full of chamomile blossoms, I walked barefoot along the warm wet concrete toward a four by six foot island of fresh grass. Fourteen slip-casted stoneware mason jars sat along the edges of this grass island. On one edge of the grass also sat a steel water bucket, a jar of honey, and a glass jug filled with milk. I walked around this grass island a few times before I began filling the mason jars one at a time with a handful of chamomile blossoms from the basket I carried. Once this task was completed, I sat the basket on the concrete before stepping onto the wet grass and kneeling behind the steel bucket. I poured the milk into the bucket, mixed in the honey, and stirred the liquid with my hands. Then I stood, with wet grass stains, to gather a mason jar, pouring the chamomile along the grass island. I then submerged the mason jar, filling it with milk and honey, and watered the chamomile that was mixed into the grass. Once the jar was empty, I tossed it onto the concrete, where it shattered and continued to dissolve from the liquid that was once inside. I repeated this over and over and over until no slip-cast jars remained, and the chamomile and grass were watered. I stepped off the grass and back onto the concrete, picking up the wooden basket that contained more chamomile blossoms. I walked around the grass, sprinkling chamomile over its entirety, before pouring the rest of the milk and honey from the steel basket over the grass. Finished, holding the wooden basket to my chest and the steel can hanging at my side, I walked away.