Behind the Art with Rachel

I am so delighted to be personally designing with this month’s kit! Each month I say that I love the new kit even more than the last. Well, no surprises here…I LOVE this kit, not just for the theme, but for the materials.  The touches of gold, delicate vellum, the metal studs…I just adore how they guided me through the idea of perspective so powerfully.

Don’t adjust your screen…this page is meant to look off-kilter.

Why This Story?
I created this interactive page to tell a story that is one that I think many people can relate to. While I love my family of origin, I don’t always feel connected to them in the way I would like or wish for. We’re very different…more specifically, I’m different from them.

I’ve always joked that I was hatched from a pod. My point of view, beliefs, and personality differ so much from those of my parents. We certainly share some values, but my way of seeing the world is truly my own.

I wanted to tell this story as a way to honor my own experience and to assign value to my honest and authentic way of being in the world. It’s difficult to feel ‘different’, especially from the people you would hope would be your closest allies and confidants. I figured out at a very young age that my natural inclinations and attitudes were really unique within my home.

That knowledge caused a kind of disconnect for me…a feeling of being off-center and not quite aligned with my external environment. I angled the patterned frame paper as homage to a photo wall, perhaps the kind you’d see on a staircase in a house in the 70s. It probably wasn’t clear to people outside, or even in many cases, inside my family that I was disconnected. I used a relatively slight angle to create a feeling of something being ‘off’ without it being obvious. It accurately reflects my feeling being of ‘not on the same page.’

The frames themselves are symbolic of the separation between family members (lots of drama in my childhood!) and I used the paint in the kit to create borders, further defining the photos as disconnected from each other.

The photos I used – of my immediate family and my grandparents – are small and at a distance – all smaller than my own close-up photo, hidden under the turn-down. My way of reminding myself to respect my own perspective and my own vision while still respecting them and keeping a distance and sense of self-protection.

I treated the oval frames as mirrors, with a couple of twists. I added crackle paint since our reflection isn’t always a clear and perfect view, and included some of the chipboard cameras.

My Emotional Journey
I started this piece of art feeling a sense of pride in my uniqueness, and went through a whole range of emotions while working. As I selected and added the photos of my family, I began to feel a familiar guilt – as if I was betraying them by noting our differences. I know that my story is actually fairly common, but I wonder how many people try to ignore the truth of their uniqueness within their families, or try to change themselves at some core level to fit in.

I actually ended up feeling a sense of pride in both my family of origin and in myself. I enjoyed treating the family photos with care and attention, framing them beautifully and seeing the passage of time, from my birth, to my grandparents’ (both sets) lives, to my parents and aunt as they are today.

I see myself in their faces and I see my independent self. We may always look slightly off-kilter to each other, but the way I see it, life is too short and too valuable to let differences change who we are in our hearts.

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