Tracing old water as monoprints

My favorite music is the music I haven’t heard. I don’t hear the music I write.
I write in order to hear music I haven’t yet heard.
 —John Cage

Yes, yes, and yes! I know only that I am part pioneer, part scavenger. Always on the look out for a new process or a new media. Something, anything that I can make my own for exploring the cycles of nature. Even if I don’t know what it is I’m after until I take up the challenge. Like today.

I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve used the time to work on hot glue strands for my upcoming installation at Missoula Art Museum. But the siren call of the Unknown trumped, and I gave myself over to messing around and making messes.

For over a year, I’ve tried off and on to transfer the slippery glop that collects in our pipes onto paper. Today — victory!  A batch of uniquely variegated prints of water sedimentation (10″ x 11″ paper / 4″ square canvas).

Tracing Water_Gerri Sayler

It’s seductive, to intimately engage with watery sludge as ink. I’m not so much making marks as extracting them, my role more collaborator than creator. Essentially, I’m putting aged water in contact with the paper and canvas it will inhabit, until it dries and disappears, leaving only the sediment.

Water intrigues me, always has. I grew up in Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Which is why, I suppose, that I relish the way my hot glue installations allude to imaginary landscapes of water and ice.

But these little works on paper? They’re not about illusion; they embody the real thing—water. Water that once mingled with the Earth, drawing color and texture from the land. Which, of course, speaks poetically to the flow and flux of time. The rusty residue, like old bones, reads like a story of interaction with life.

For me, these prints hum with traces of the life-giving liquid so essential to our bodies, to our survival as a species. Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain 70%, the lungs nearly 90%.

I want to create more of these prints. I want to make them better, but not bigger. They need to be as tiny as haiku, a size that suggests precious things, as do the lyrics for Michael Franti’s Hello Bonjour   “… every drop of water is holy water.”

4 responses to “Tracing old water as monoprints

  1. Mary, I very much treasure your enthusiastic support of my art. I remember when you made a fuss over me during my collaging days. Felt good then, feels good now. Hugs ~ gerri

  2. you hit the mother lode with this, your latest inspiration/creation. this is so you! the quote and the reference to the Michael Franti song just tie it all together. keep going…this is a brilliant moment! i am so happy for you! oxo m

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