Recently I am reminded of another dream I used to have. It was a dream where I was standing in my mentor’s home (that would be Retha Walden Gambaro, a sculptor who I apprenticed to when I was 16-19 years old). In the dream she had piled all of her furniture and the belongings from her home in the center of the room. She was holding a lit torch and crying and asking me if I would set the fire for her. She wanted to burn everything she owned but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. This little sculpture, called “Honoring the Request”, was part of my MFA thesis work. I’m reminded how much of this dream is still with me in this imagery. I think of burning this work. I think about Retha often (or Mrs. Gambaro as I would have always respectfully called her). I recently read an article from the New York Times and, though it was about a retrospective of her work, it alluded to her declining cognitive health. She may not remember the work that she has made. My heart hurts so much when I think that she won’t remember what she did with her life and how she impacted a young woman who was finding her way.
“Honoring the Request”, 2006. Charred Polymer Clay and Wax.