Helen Hiebert is an artist working primarily in handmade paper. A prolific paper maker, weaver and lantern creator, Helen has published several books, runs classes and she also exhibits experimental installations. I find her work captivating and have chosen to sound-paint to her artwork “Holding”.
“HOLDING” (approx. 18″ x 24″ x 18″)
Media: handmade abaca paper and linen thread
by Helen Hiebert
Price: US$ 1200
photo by Roberta Aylward
Helen Hiebert’s comments:
I made this piece when my children were little and I was thinking quite a bit about motherhood.
You see a large and a small figure and the threads joining them are all of the “stuff” that connects them, both spoken and unspoken thoughts, words, and emotions.
“THREADS” (6:52) © Helen Davey
an ode to motherhood and the threads that bind
For lap harp, mbira and voices (the mothers from antiquity), piano: keys & strings
I was deeply moved by Helen’s artwork. It’s multi dimensionality, capturing many aspects of motherhood and all of the personal associations we carry about the ultimate miracle of giving and nurturing life. I was quite mesmerised by the threads and the knots – holding tension and selfhood in the balance – between mother and child and the further representational threading of our umbilical connection back into antiquity along the maternal line.
As I began to work on this sound-painting, I became quite obsessed with the whiteness of the work and it’s symbolism. On my morning walks, I photographed some of the whiteness of nature at the moment here in Zurich, with her snow, fog and “riiif” (the Swissies also call it verzuckert – “being sugared”). It fuelled my need to convey whiteness, something of the sacred, the all-ness and the one-ness of how we are all connected.
I decided on an ostinato (repeating pattern) played on piano keys as an underlying sound-carpet at 60 beats per minute (our hearts at rest) to give the steadying “no matter what” pulse of the piece.
Those threads! I wanted to capture these as tensions and tenderness all at once for those threads that can hold us to ransom, pulling us undone; or threads that mend us so lovingly and hold our selfhood intact. For this underlying idea I settled on piano strings (struck with soft mallets), lap harp and mbira (african metal thumb piano).
One solo voice is the woman behind every mother… The maternal line of voices had to come through too, echoes and whispers of the preceeding generations of our mother’s mothers – and the sacredness of that.
purity as exile
crystalline and breakable
threads and needles
eyes, knots and tears
as one. (HD)
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing “Holding” and hearing “Threads”.
There’ll be another sound-painting in response to another artwork next week…
Same place (link).
I’d love to hear your comments below.
Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share this around.