I woke up to snow on the roses. I sat there for a few moments watching the cat on the windowsill watching the birds as they flew to and from the feeder. I had woken up from disturbing dreams. The dreams weren’t bad per se but they had brought up a lot of issues that I thought I had dealt with. In fact when I do wake I’m confused. I don’t feel like I’m still dealing with them. I don’t know it at the time but I’ll get the answer unexpectedly later.
I’m annoyed that I have to write about these dreams because they address insecurities and I don’t want to do that right now. I want to make coffee and curl up in my bed writing and reading. I want to be not stressed about a costume and how I’m going to get paintings to a show in the snow. And why is there snow in October?
When I shot the photo I lifted the roses in my hand. They hung head down as more snow fell around them. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. They looked so lovely in that layer of white crystals but I knew they were slowly dying. "There's snow on the roses" I called to Melissa and in that moment a series was born.
"Snow on the Roses" depicts an aspect of addiction that is hidden. The women in the project are friends, each of us a former addict. Looking at any one of us you'd probably never know. We're all accomplished, well received, put together respected individuals in our communities. Jess Butler posed the question: "How does one define a drug user?"
I don't know. People that use aren't bad people, there really isn't any good way to sum it up. You just have it in you, there's something that ticks, and it says "I need. I want."
I finished the facial studies for the pieces. I took three friends and myself and crafted individual works incorportating flowers, symbolism, and animal totems. I plan to make these pieces into life size altars. I'm working with peole to make them move and add multiple layers to the pieces. This isn't just my project anymore, this is a community project. This week I start building the model for the larger altars. Once that's finished we can see how to make it move. Step by step we push forward.
These are the women involved. I'm linking to their websites so you can explore their own personal pages, getting a feeling for what they are about.
Jess Butler (Formerly Tilley) worked at Cambridge Needle Exchange as the overdose prevention coordinator. Narcan Diva/Syringe slinger