I grew up on the edge of a tiny town, nestled in a bend of the Grand River, ensconced by rolling farmland. I spent my entire childhood and early adolescent years here (my family moved away early enough in my teenage years to mostly avoid any boredom with rural life). My siblings and I filled our days outside: skating and sledding in the winter, yard work and swimming in the summer. Every season brought new options, but the autumn stands out in my memory as particularly glorious: breath fogging in the morning air waiting for the school bus, but enough sunlight yet that we could wander in our T-shirts down to the river, or venture out into the tall, dry fields bordering our property. Running through these fields, rolling hay bales into formations that suited us, feeding apples to the horses: these warm memories have surfaced often in my mind over these past months. My daughter asked recently for a story of when I was small, and I recalled a game of hide-and-seek in the tall corn field behind our house. I had done a particularly good job with my hiding spot, because things grew quiet, and soon it began to grow dark - I think my brother gave up looking for me. I tried retracing my steps to head back, but being much smaller than my surroundings, I got turned around, and soon realized I was lost. It felt like a long time that I called out, and waited. But soon, the tall, dry stalks swished loudly and gave way to my brother, who led me out of the fields, back to the familiar sight and feel of home.
These days, my feet fall on different ground, far from where I grew up, and far from my siblings and family. Where we live now in the Netherlands, we have quick and easy access to farmers fields at the edge of our neighbourhood and city. So throughout the past year, with my happy pup by my side, I found myself once again walking through quiet fields of wheat, corn, wild flowers, and all kinds of other growing things. In the middle of a chaotic, unpredictable time, this ritual gave me a sense of calm, comfort, and quiet joy, retrieving such warm memories of my family and early years.
And so, these fragments of wheat and various bits from my evening walks presented themselves as the perfect material for this new Dawn Collection. The cross-section of wheat grains, in lovely, linear, organic patterns, stand as a visual representation of repetition, growth, and the circular nature of life - and memory.
In some ways, the name "Dawn" feels like a strange name for a series made at the close of summer - but the sentiment has a value for every season: to hold out hope, particularly in a difficult, dark time. For me there is great comfort in the simple certainty that the world turns, that night's darkness gradually will be replaced by soft morning light, and a new day will begin again.
“And no one knows we're anywhere
we're not supposed to be
So stay a while and watch the wind throw patterns on a field
This crop withstood the months of snow
Scavengers and blight
Tuned every year towards a tiny
lengthening of light
Found a way to rise
We know this world is good enough
because it has to be
Allow the hope that we will meet again
out in the winter wheat
Find me in the winter wheat.”
- John K. Samson, Winter Wheat