Motherhood, art, death. It’s all tied up for me. My brother Joe died during “the time of death.” That’s what we call it. In fifteen months, eight beloved people—family, friends, and an infant—died. For a while, my husband and I would say, “It can’t get any worse.” Then it would get worse, so we stopped saying that.
In 2005, my baby daughter died. Before I had kids, I had lots of time, but nothing to say. Now, with three kids, I have no time, but I have something to say, and I’m not afraid. There’s tremendous power in tremendous loss. I see the little bits and pieces left behind at the playground—a barrette, a pencil, a scrap of ribbon. Who left it? Did they notice it was gone? I see the mystery of a little piece of a broken toy, and how it becomes unrecognizable. What is it? What was its purpose? Ordinary things like a bread tab inspire a new design in my jewelry.
These are the things that make up my daily life as a mom— bread tabs and lost barrettes and parts of broken toys. I find meaning, solace, and remembrance in the ordinary things that are left behind.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Elaine Luther is an independent studio artist with a sense of humor. Her mission is to make art that’s brave, vulnerable and true, and sometimes funny.
Her art has been exhibited in Chicago and across the country, including at Gallery I/O in New Orleans, LA and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL. Solo shows include Harold Washington Library, West Englewood, Forest Park and Orland Park Public Libraries and multiple micro-galleries, including two in the U.K. She regularly gives speeches at conferences and professional association meetings. She has been an Advisory Board member for Woman Made Gallery and an ambassador for the Self-Employment in the Arts Conference. Currently, she serves on the Marketing and Membership Committee for Woman Made Gallery, Chicago. She has written for the Craft Industry Alliance and Moore Women Artists. She lives in Chicagoland with her family, where she’s also the gallerist for a series of 12” x 12” box galleries where she puts on shows of miniature art.
© Elaine Luther