Tear-away stabilizer traditionally functions as a backing for embroidery, so by using it as the main support I am bringing what is normally hidden, unseen, in the back ... to the front, showing that which supports, that which lies behind. It is a symbolic and material gesture meant to convey that the real pain, suffering and cost of the violence that is endemic to American society is the true story, the real narrative, the one that is, therefore, definitionally covered up or at least ignored, unattended.
The tear-away stabilizer functions as a symbol of the lives and people directly affected by the "cost" of empire, lives themselves "discarded", "torn-away" and marginalized. The tear-away stabilizer also symbolizes that which is hidden: the hidden rooms, the hidden discussions, where power resides and makes its awful choices. I am seeking the reality behind the narrative. I sew the tear-away stabilizer together in pieces, showing the threads on the front instead of hiding them on the back; I expose the thread as symbolic sutures of trauma, wounds that have failed to heal and are, as such, passed along generation to generation. The tear-away stabilizer functions therefore like skin: torn, misshapen by life's wounds, and sewn back together, healing and yet leaving a visible mark for all to see, like the one left upon the heart. I view the tear-away stabilizer as the "body" of my work, as a physical human body with a unique and deeply honest physical tale to tell through its asymmetry and damage. I intentionally make cuts of tear-away stabilizer that are uneven, misshapen and asymmetrical to the other pieces, and yet, when sewn together form a coherent whole, much like the human body itself, much like the human life, itself sewn together in haphazard pieces, episodes, stories, tragedies and triumphs.