|Nadir (In Memory of David Shirmohammad), EarthPaint on canvas|
Laura Z 2016. This memorial painting is embedded with a small glass bottle containing a dear friend's ashes.
|The Weather in September, Laura Z 2004|
I never wanted to be a ballerina. - my clumsiness is legendary. I was oblivious to anything as ordinary as the spatial relationship between hard, stationary objects and easily bruised shins, knees, elbows, toes.....
|Color Spiral, Laura Z 2004|
I found inspiration right under my feet, on a mountainside bisected with veins of colorful earth. I began collecting the various earthen hues, determined to figure out a way to paint with them.
This part of western North Carolina is dotted with gem mines - ruby, sapphire, amethyst, garnet, olivine, and glittery mica that pervades everything and makes dirty floors sparkle.
The local abundance and variety of gems and minerals is world-renowned, so even back then I was able to collect a basic palette that would be hard to find anywhere else in the world: Crimson-red clay, red and yellow ocher, a bluish gray, green, chalky off-white, and a powdery mica that glitters like gold dust.
Sixteen years later, I've collected a full palette of mineral colors, dozens of techniques and tricks, and an assortment of crazy improvised tools, made mostly from a random collection of odd metal bits, plastic and cardboard packaging scraps, and re-purposed household items I call The Weirdo Toolbox.
It's the closest I'll ever come to being grounded - I'm still an absent-minded klutz - but there's something about the physicality of crushing rocks that somehow bridges the divide between my imagination and this awkward alien world where I crash into things and have to pretend I understand what's going on.
left: making blue pigment from lapis lazuli
|Solace, Laura Z 2014|