The month at the Arteles came at a necessary time, when I was deep in a crisis of faith in the studio. Each day, as I wandered through the forest, I would come across new, small gifts: the way the snow glowed, melting in the sunlight, or a piece of fungi growing on tree bark, resembling a dash of paint. These simple beauties were a reminder of what I had lost sight of; they were a visual embodiment of hope.
Building this altar was borne of both desperation and that sense of quiet restoration, as I immersed myself in the ancient beauty of the Finnish landscape, relieved from the incessant negative news of the media by a lack of internet access, and buoyed by the companionship of the artists I met at the residency. As I began working in the studio again, I thought about invisible labor as a mode of devotion, versus the overt labor of capitalism and art as product; of the value of living over the value of production. For the final offering, I cut my braid, which had remained untouched throughout the past four years, and laid it on the altar.