I will always remember this tilt of my grandma’s head. Mainly because she was an instructor and watched over my shoulder from the time I was a little girl. She was the horrible kind of teacher that would make you figure out how to solve a problem rather than directly showing you the answer. I once wrote that grandma rarely asked why, but she always asked how. Generally, I wouldn’t have the answer and would fumble my way through to a solution.

There were times when I lived with her in my mid-twenties when I would cry in the shower in the middle of the day as I worked on designing and constructing over 100 shirts. She was 88 then, and I wouldn’t have been able to complete them without her help. For the rest of my life, I think that I will hear her voice saying, “Laura, simplify.”

When she passed away at the end of May, I had an unexpected peace during the funeral. A month later, I’m still thankful that she is finally free but I miss her in the deepest sense of the word. I want her to see me as a partial blonde, yell at me for using sunless tanner, see the recent dresses that I have altered... and to check the back of my embroidered stitches in this collaged journal.

She really wanted me to do collages like these outside of this journal, so I could make them more marketable. Eventually, maybe I’ll try to do a larger collage and in a format that is more suitable for display, but right now, I don’t want to. (Do I sound like a rebellious granddaughter?)

This work, although not the most unique and elementary in some cases, is extremely personal to me. It’s where I zone out, where I stitch and paint tedious things when I can’t get a hard conversation out of my head, where I pray, and where I worship.

This particular collage is based off a verse from Luke, "Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar." This was taken from "The Message" because I like the directness of the interpretation. 

Unlike other collages in this journal, I made the text the focus. Partially, because I am becoming more and more interested in old manuscripts and I needed this text in my face. May-June have been hard months for me in many respects. I witnessed my dad in and out of two unexpected surgeries and my grandma's health fail. At times, I felt like a bat was being swung at my head. However, I realized that even when everything around you feels frenzied, you still have the option to trust and can control how you view things. (Or at least I'm trying!)