But over the years, as I sat crafting my masks from synthetic materials in my basement studio, I found myself day-dreaming of wildlands: mossy old growth forests, rocky high deserts and windy beaches. And thus an idea began to form...
What if I could escape my subterranean confinement, and actually go to some of these wild places and make my art there?
So as I sat at my desk, hands endlessly shaping and painting plastic and neoprene, my mind filled with intriguing visions: camping simply, listening to birdsong as I sculpted and painted, watching sun, moon and stars move across the sky. But abruptly, these images were interrupted by a disturbing thought.
Because my masks were so reliant on unnatural materials, I could not craft them outside of an isolated studio without contamination to my immediate environment. Even my paints generated gallons of tainted brush water that would need to be carefully transported home for disposal. And I did not want to take my creativity to wild places if it meant polluting them.
|Local earth pigments collected to|
make natural paint
But here is what I did know: I no longer wished to run a business that polluted the land. And so I closed my studio and spent the next several years learning and eventually teaching ancestral and outdoor living skills.
Being a nature educator was an amazing experience, and for awhile, my life as a mask-maker felt like a distant memory. But little did I know that the masks were simply biding their time, waiting until I had the skills to finally return to them.