|Working on "Ode to Jo" during the opening. Johanne Renbeck's work "Suddenly the Moon"is on the left|
Ode to Jo
After my dear friend died I was stymied. What kind of work to do? Where to go with these feelings of loss? I thought to begin a work and put it all into it. I began by searching for the right paper. I found a drawing I had done some time ago and began working with it. As I wrote my thoughts and memories on the paper I realized the drawing looked like Jo- a tall, slender, elegant woman. It all fit. I kept writing my thoughts and with each sentence felt a little bit of an ease as some feelings came out.
I wrote about the things Jo had taught me, things I had shared with her. I wrote about our conversations, things we discovered together, our similarities and differences. We shared so many things – mainly our passion for our work. We visited each others studios often and critiqued work, writings, helped to install exhibits. So many more things…
On this work I continued - I drew and stitched and wrote. Then the crocheting began. Jo had taught me how to crochet when she saw me struggling with knitting a six foot tall form. Her idea had made my entire project easier and smoother. So, of course, I would crochet on this piece in memory of her. As I work connecting the string to itself with simple stitches, I continue to connect myself to the part of her that lives inside me and to the idea of 'image and word' she loved so much.