One morning in early May, a Robin started flinging her body into our sun room window. For two weeks, every morning at daybreak, she pounded her chest into an imaginary, "other bird" reflection to protect the sacred space she was creating for her brood. It is called "boxing" and is typical nesting behavior. All day, she built, guarded, prepared, and watched. We saw her pick single blades of grass for the extra soft center of the nest. Patiently, she built a rugged, beautiful, practical, protected home positioned on and connected to a large push broom, hanging under the eaves behind our house. A step ladder allowed us to actually witness one of the two beautiful eggs hatch. Soon, there were two pellucid bodies with open mouths and enormous bug eyes. We watched both Robin parents care for and eventually launch their two babies. It was a profound honor to participate as viewers in this phenomenon of nature.
The creation of this body of work paralleled the Robin rites of creation. I have been considering and printing nests, vessels, circles for months. A nest holds life, is so carefully constructed, withstands wind, rain, and cold, is made of found bits and scraps of surroundings, is held together tightly with mud, has an utterly soft and delicate center, signifies home and family, and is a symbol of protection. To me the nest is a miracle in spirit, perseverance, ability, and strength – a worthy and noble endeavor, somewhat unbelievable.
I have been printing these "nest forms," repeating them and exploring how they balance, stand alone, create tension with each other, and sometimes defy gravity. "There is a spiritual power in repetition – a devotional quality, like saying rosaries." (Kiki Smith) I find that the forms that stay with me for significant periods provide a forum for inquiry, practice, and ultimately discovery. So, this exhibit displays a segment of this journey. For now, I am still printing variations of the circle. The nest is still a potent symbol.
The Robins have hatched and flown into the woods. I continue the humble and blessed work of creating images that reveal some internal truth or understanding. The building of nests with what is "on hand" is an art form in itself.