Donna Troy Cleary

2. immersion

Donna Troy ClearyComment

In the spring of 2016, I broke my wrist falling down a couple of flights of stairs.  I was distraught by the length of time I was unable to crochet since this had become my primary means of making art.  Fortunately, I was invited to be a visiting artist at Chashama North, a much needed distraction and an activity I was capable of doing.  While at the residency I was asked to return as a resident artist.  I agreed, thinking surely by then my wrist would be better and I'd be able to resume crocheting, perhaps using local plants.  In late August I still had severe nerve pain and was struggling to control it.  

A fellow resident invited an artist-friend to visit who was working with herbs.  She conducted a ceremony with an herb that was growing in a ring around the residency and I became curious. My research revealed that this herb was a nervine, an herb that helps control nerve pain.  The coincidence sent me into research overdrive.  The residency and local farm had every herb imaginable growing on its premises so I spent my time collecting, making infused oils, taking photos and making video.

I became interested in the traditions of herbalism and how it related to my past as an RN.  I knew already that healers were once primarily women and decided to reclaim that knowledge and power.  I needed a more responsible method for obtaining information than the internet, so I contacted a local herbalist, applied and was accepted as an apprentice.

The use of herbs in my sculptures, healing ceremonies, performance and photography are now included in my approach to art making.

 

My studio at chaNorth where I collected, dried and then processed herbs into infused oils.

My studio at chaNorth where I collected, dried and then processed herbs into infused oils.