This was the final project of my first metals class: enameling. As someone completely new to metals, even simple things like drilling and sawing out interior shapes had a sharp learning curve, but I loved metals so intensely and so instantly that even the most mundane things were less like work and more like exciting revelations.
This was the first piece in a series that feature spinal columns and sacra, often combined with dragonfly wings. I have had problems with my spine for years, but this particular year the problems multiplied. I badly bruised my spine and threw out my back by slamming into the pointed corner of a steel dumpster, and the x-rays from that incident revealed undiagnosed scoliosis and the beginnings of degenerative disc disease. Several other friends and acquaintances were also struggling with back issues, and later that year one passed away from complications with spinal fusion. Unsurprisingly, the imagery found its way into my work as I attempted to work through these emotions.
I combined the spines with dragonfly wings because I felt like I was looking for an escape, and in my mind the wings represented the idea of some relief from these issues. By combining enamel with metal, I wanted to create a piece that was at the same time strong but fragile, only needing one sharp shock to send it crumbling to pieces. For me, this dynamic perfectly represented the feeling I had of constantly hanging on by a thread, of being so close to physical ruin at any given moment, and how beautiful the hope of rising above it all can be in those situations.