*/design, electronic textiles, illustration, digital graphics, education
Letter to Luz


The other day on the phone with my mother discussing COVID19 for the first time she made a comment about the stories that would be lost because people will lose loved ones quicker than they had imagined. A sonder feeling started to set in and I wondered about what stories I would want to make sure I had before a loved one was able to share it with me. Do I even know my great grandmother’s name? She did raise my mother at some point, right? She came from Mexico, right? I suddenly felt a sense of urgency to ask all these questions to my mother.

In the midst of a pandemic, reflecting on what I needed to know about that woman before me, I started to wonder what rituals they performed to get through hard times. What songs did they listen to? What food did they cook? What were their affirmations that they told themselves and others around them to keep them safe? What other rituals did they partake in? I always go back to rituals. Probably because making art is a ritual and a ritual of survival for myself.

My mother and auntie Deanna contributed to this project by providing me with the stories and genealogy behind my family, a lot which was new information to me. This facilitated a closeness that I wanted from my family as we were apart during such a time of uncertainty.
The beadwork pattern is composed of a letter to my great grandmother Luz, my mother, and aunties asking for strength and to provide gratitude. During the COVID19 virus, I sat daily and wrote to them and translated the words in realtime with a binary code generator. The characters of my words are represented by 0 and 1 from the 7-bit binary code within computers, communications, and equipment. That is what makes up the gold and turquoise patterns.

Before COVID19 this project started out to honor the ritual or theme in the art of body extensions as a path to healing. Some artists that I like are Rebecca Horn, Nick Cave, and Ying Gao. For me, extending my body is a reminder that I am here, that I can create space, that there are stories before me that make me, that I am capable of creating a beautiful narrative of my own. I am so grateful that I have been able to transcend the generational traumas to space where I have the privilege to process these layers as an artist.

Arduino Lilypad

Photo Credit: Arel Watson