CREATING MY AMERICA
This muffler represents an America of the future where toxic emissions from gas guzzling cars are a thing of the past replaced by clean electric cars… The muffler is now a Raku and fiber sculpture. It is covered in natural yarns I have accumulated in my travels, yarns hand spun by artisans in South Africa and in the Berkshires, yarns inherited from special friends who shared my passion for knitting but are no longer here. I have used the colors of the earth, water, and sky as well as the colors of our flag to create my hope for cleaner America. The rusted top and bottom of the muffler remain intentionally exposed as a reminder that our past is layered and we must expose it in order to change it.
My time had come and my owner clearly decided I was no longer useful. I was rusty and I was a polluter. The exhaust that came out of me was toxic. My days of road trips across the highways and byways were over. I was not wanted. I hit the metal heap at the town ecology facility often called THE DUMP expecting to be recycled but an artist showed up and looked at me as she tossed other metal into the designated area. She was not really sure what I was, but she was fascinated by my rusty old color and most of all my shape. She thought I was a beautiful sculptural form. She did not see me for what I was. To her I was more than a muffler. She picked me up and took me to her home and I found myself living in her garage. I am not sure what she was thinking. Her husband was not sure either. I heard him say several times, “when are you going to throw out that muffler?”
She would always reply, “I love it, I have a plan for it.” I have been standing in her garage for quite a few years. Occasionally looked at and then put back into my safe corner of the garage, I watch her come and go. But today she came out to the garage, backed up her car, and came to my corner. She picked me up and carried me to the driveway. She looked at me with intent, and then took me down into her studio. I was about to become something more than a muffler. I was going to become an expression of her America.
This work was created as a result of a workshop designed and taught by the artist Maggie Meiners. Prompted to think about our unique American story and the objects to which we have an emotional connection, participating artists were asked to write something from the objects point of view and then design an artifact to reflect the America we see or want to see.