Recently, I have spent my creative time breeding giant silk moths. I began with cocoons, bred the females with wild males, collected the eggs then tended the caterpillars. I watched as they spun their cocoons and changed into pupae. When they emerged, I kept them in a tent so I could witness the whole process again.
Their lives as moths are at most two weeks long. Their brief existence makes me more aware of the transitory nature of life. By incorporating the moth into my sculptures, I am trying to capture a moment in the infinite cycle of life.
In the Passage installation, as the glass moons progress through their various phases, a spiral of cast wax moths is suspended underneath. Scientists theorize that moths find their way by using transverse navigation: keeping the moon on one side allows them to guide their way. But when an artificial light is present, they are confused, and the transverse navigation causes them to spiral in towards the flame.
Man in the Moon Series
Historically, moon imagery is a powerful symbol of regeneration, but on a personal level, this series is an homage to my father, Richard Odell, who died a few years ago. In his professional capacity, he designed radios that served on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. He was proud of his work: I remember playing with the Silver Snoopy astronaut pin he received from NASA as commendation for his service. Amongst the layers of glass, I have incorporated some of his ashes into these fused glass compositions. Much like the waxing and waning of the moon, our bodies, born of the earth, are eventually returned to it, in order to replenish and sustain future generations.
These pieces are created by layering cut sheet glass with powdered glass, broken pieces of glass (called frit), small slivers of glass, silver foil, and vitreous enamels. Much like the way a painter layers thin veneers of paint, I see this process as a kind of three-dimensional painting. The panels and moons have been transformed through three or four separate firings, up to 1450°. After the last firing of the moons, the back edge is ground and polished, and I glue on neodymium magnets that hold the glass to the steel plate.
Lunation (June 11 July 9, 2008)
Blown and kiln formed glass, steel, copper.
Luna Moth (Topo)
Dress for the Blood Countess
This dress was inspired by Erzabet of Bathory, a real life 16th century Hungarian Countess who had the nasty habit of torturing a killing young women and bathing in their blood, in order to make her own skin look more youthful.
The garment is made up of mostly used white leather gloves that have been deconstructed & sewn together. Most of these gloves are used and dirty or stained, so they bear the marks of the previous owners. To me they represent the flesh of the Countess' victims, that she was trying to appropriate for her own selfish needs.
Made of recycled polyethylene foam, the form of this dress was inspired by an illustration of a Stinkhorn fungus drawn by the 19th century naturalist, Ernst Haeckel.
Hela Cell/Tree of Life
Inspired by the story of Henrietta Lacks and traditional needlework motifs of the Tree of Life, this dress is made of recycled materials and is sewn by hand. Henrietta was a poor African American woman who was being treated for cervical cancer when a researcher discovered her cancer cells were “immortal” (they would not die in culture, outside of her body.) These unique Hela cells were harvested from Henrietta Lacks in 1951, and have been instrumental in scientific research until today. These incredible cells divide so prolifically that it is estimated that more Hela cells have been grown in labs than were ever in Henrietta Lacks’ body.
Unfortunately, Henrietta Lacks was never aware that her cells were harvested, nor has her family received compensation for the use ofHela cells in research. I found Rebecca Skloot’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, to be an invaluable resource, and inspiration for this project.
Fused glass panels inspired by the microscopic patterns of butterflies and moths.
Inachis Io (Blue Peacock Butterfly)
Siproeta Steneles (Malachite Butterfly)
Caligo Idomeneus (Giant Owl Butterfly)
Agrias Beatifica Butterfly
Papilio Machaon (Swallowtail Butterfly)
Historius Odius (Stinkyleafwing Butterfly)
Dream Anatomy Dresses
Everybody’s got a body, but few of us take the time to contemplate what is beneath the surface of our skin. For centuries, physicians and artists have attempted to make sense of the complexities hidden inside. Early anatomical illustrations are often a mixture of correct and incorrect assumptions. Some artists rely on metaphor rather than verisimilitude.
The Dream Anatomy series explore these imagined realms inside the body. Because these garments are meant to be worn, the boundary between the internal and the external is blurred. The invisible is made visible: wear your inside on the outside. By using women’s slips and nighties, articles that were not originally intended for public life, I am playing with the line between the public and the private arenas.
Most of the garments and fabrics I use come from thrift stores and garage sales. If you look carefully, you will find stains and worn areas: vestiges of a previous life. I am fascinated by the emotional patina that accompanies cast-offs. I choose to recycle worn garments because our bodies also bear the marks of our daily lives, both externally and internally.
Blown and hot sculpted glass, steel, magnets
The pattern in this fused glass panel was based on the microscopic view of Estradiol, a form of estrogen, that appears as a crystal. I printed images of luna moths on the glass, as a play on the idea that a woman's cycle will mimic the cycle of the moon.
Blown glass with powder print.
Spanish Luna Moth Bottle
Made entirely from recycled materials, this dress features screen printed dimensional appliquéd serpents.