The month at the Arteles came 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 hope.
Building this altar was part of that process 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 lack of internet access, and buoyed by the companionship of my fellow residents. As I began working in the studio again, I thought about invisible labor as a mode of devotion, versus the overt labor of 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.