I sent out a request to 100 friends to send me a “braid,” with no further explanation as to size, length, or material. I knew immediately who sent what: braided dough from a chef, twisted sticks from a woodworker neighbor, braided negatives from a photographer, springs and hands from a clock maker.
Most people had included a note with their braid with some variation of “I’m not an artist, but . . .” It was clear to me that they all were, but didn’t know it. They just needed something to inspire them.
I took the hundred feet of braid that resulted from braiding the braids together, photocopied them, printed them on transparency sheets, and built a series of figurative lamps. The colorful images inside weren’t obvious until the lamps were lit. Each lantern was different: some masculine, some feminine.
The lanterns hung together in a room with individual motion detectors set so that each stayed lit for less than a minute. Viewers would inevitably try to get them to all light up at the same time, however briefly, resulting in a waltz around the room, from one lantern to the next.
I collaged the colorful transparencies and hung them in front of a large window. Backlit, they resembled a stained-glass window honoring the artist in each of us.
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