Many years ago, I had a studio at the Arts & Industry Building in Florence, Mass. There were over 70 artist studios and small businesses tucked into this old brush factory. One of my neighbors on the fourth floor was a fellow who restored violin bows. Violinists from around the country sent him their broken bows and he fixed them. As part of the repair process, he had to cut off the horsehair left on each bow. And lucky me was the recipient of wonderful boxes of discarded horsehair!
As you can imagine, this was a treasure trove for an artist and I found ways to incorporate the horsehair into some of my pieces. At the time, my work was quite small and I wasn’t able to use it in great amounts. But I always imagined that some day I would have a creative brainstorm and find a way to use the horsehair.
Over the last ten years, I moved my studio from Western Massachusetts to Durham, North Carolina and also to Chapala, Mexico. And the horsehair followed along, waiting patiently for its turn to shine. I never discarded the boxes of horsehair and felt confident that someday I would figure out how to use it.
I am currently preparing for several museum shows, which require making large pieces. One of these is an installation of ceramic inspired sculptures called Vessels/Vasijas. They range in size from 4 feet to 7 feet high. I’ve been stuck on one of these pieces for months and nothing I have tried has worked. And then inspiration struck! I took out the horsehair and started sewing them into 5 inch tufts. They are exactly what the piece needed!
It will take another couple of months to finish this sculpture, but now I have an exciting, new direction and finally the horsehair will make its long-awaited appearance. So for all of you collectors of odd things, have confidence in your choices and know that if you feel really drawn to something, it will find a way into your work.