Folding into the Earth

The Art Gallery at the Franciscan University, Clinton, Iowa, 2004

Materials: 1400 disposable diapers with a single corn seed inside (diapers were given to families with infants after the exhibit), 12 cow bladders filled with colostrum, 12 bowls filled with cicada exo-skeletons

Two weeks after my daughter’s birth, we began a new tradition in our household—making tamales on Christmas Eve.  As I changed Chiara Rose’s diapers, folding each dirty one into a little package or bundle, I realized that this act paralleled the making of the tamales, and thus, Folding Into the Earth was born. 

There is a circular relationship between these two acts, and in these forms.  From death comes life.  From dirt/shit comes food.  From eating comes defecation.  When a child is born, a life begins, and death begins as well.  Each plastic disposable diaper (1400 of them) contained a corn seed, ready to sprout to life.  After a child is born, the first food, colostrum, is supped from its mother's breast. In this installation, the colostrum rests in animal bladders that once held bile.  Collected in plastic bowls below the bladders are cicada exo-skeltons.  These small fragile amber-colored packages symbolize both death and rebirth.