Resilience evolved from both an awareness of my innermost reactions, actions, and choices when confronted by life’s challenges as well as an overall recognition of the enduring quality of hope that is possible within the psyche.
Team-teaching a summer ceramics study abroad program in China was a chance of a lifetime. My travels to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Jingdezhen allowed for experiences and interactions beyond imagination coupled with time for self-reflection. I was deeply inspired. At the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, I witnessed a demonstration of traditional ceramic flower building techniques. I decided to create a series of porcelain dogwood flowers to symbolize my renewed awareness of hope both from within myself as well as within humanity. When I returned home to Michigan, I realized that the perfect context for these flowers was the winding pile of red wire that I had saved from a work in progress struggle from a previous installation. The evolution of the work included a continued twisting of wire and making of porcelain dogwoods. Over time, the piece evolved to finally become a large floor piece.
Qualities of resilience can be found in all forms of life. This ingrained instinct of survival is a touching and basic form reflected in the human condition. The will to face adversity and not give up, the knowledge of an intrinsic core self, and the willingness to smile and move beyond anger, fear, and death reflects joy, trust, hope, and love.