The title of this exhibit, “To Honor and Comfort,” comes from a beautiful book about Native American quilting traditions*. The quilters in this book had a higher purpose even as they made useful objects. My friends who make cloth quilts also have strong motivations, making quilts to show their love and concern. My paper adaptations of the quilt form do the same. They also show my reverence for women’s crafts.
My primary motivation as an artist, to understand what it means to be human. Each of these works is a kind of meditation, a kind of prayer. Some of them reach out to a greater power (“Worshipping with Red,” “Instructions for a Ritual,” “Homage to the Goddess”). With others I keep in mind a particular person (“Solace for Pablo”) or remember a particularly happy time (“Sayulita” and “Beverly Shores”).
The sculptures in “To Honor and Comfort” also reflect an on-going preoccupation, making a three dimensional object out of a flat surface. Each sculpture can be installed in a number of different ways, like a tapestry, reflecting my understanding of the impermanence of this world. Finally, they show my pleasure in repeating forms and processes and, I hope, the calm that comes with doing so.
The sculptures in “To Honor and Comfort” are constructed primarily of handmade paper. Paper is light and appears fragile. As a paper sculptor, I know that it is also pliable, absorbs color beautifully, and is very strong. Abaca, the fiber I use most often, shrinks as it dries, adding the element of chance to all my work. I also love the process of papermaking because of my love of water, for its beauty, sensuality and for its healing qualities.
Laurie Wessman LeBreton
*Marsha L. McDowell and C. Kurt Dewhurst, To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions, Museum of New Mexico Press, 1997