Updated: May 9
On February 27, 2022 I boarded my flight from Costa Rica to the US. It was a beautiful trip full of meetings with aligned souls, prayers and a special "homenaje" to Puerto Limon. I was feeling good! Just then, my phone buzzed. It was an email from Sidney, a wonderful poet I met while working at an art gallery in Seattle, Washington. "Subject: Request for Artwork".
Sidney was requesting a work in memory of her mother. We got some time on the calendar the next day and she shared her story. Sidney's mom, mother of 8, raised her and her siblings as a single mom for many years after her father was murdered. Sidney shared that during their darkest days, when the family was sad or angry, she would tell them, "Let's make happiness", to uplift their spirits. This could mean playing music, making a pot of rice and beans -- whatever the moment called for.
I was moved by this story and I gathered inputs for the artwork so I could sit with them a while before starting her commission. She voice recorded her mom's saying, uploaded a poem she wrote about her mom called "Mommy Speak", photos of the family, and the names of her siblings.
Creating commissions are incredible experiences I always feel deep gratitude for. It comes with a sense of responsibility but I balance the experience with fun. Never forget the fun 🤩 .
Sidney's work was going to be a 12 x 24 size, but I quickly realized based on the content she provided, we needed more space. We decided that a cheerful color in the yellow family on a 15 x 30 base would be a good size for the work.
Laying the background: I selected oak wood because it is a softer wood, easy to stain and good for carving. The poem text was adhered around the perimeter of the work along with family photos, and the burlap was adhered to the wood surface. Once dried, the burlap was dyed and painted, and the sound wave was carved starting from the center. As I worked my way to the left and right of the sound wave, I added variation to the line structure with paint and copper wire.
Adding more details: The names of Sidney and her siblings were included in figures. Inside of a carved line are more photos of her mom and words about her favorite phrase, "Let's Make Happiness."
I was truly "happy" just looking at this work, so I knew it was ready to ship out. To see Sidney's review, click here.
I hope you enjoyed this read! For more information about how to commission artwork, click here.
With Love & Light,
J. Alexandra Escarpeta