One night as I sit on a rocking chair and hold sleeping Zosia in my arms, the Dedication by Hans Johansen starts playing from her lullaby speaker. It doesn’t take long, in fact just a few seconds, for me to see the row of autumnal lime-trees, their leaves glistening in the sunshine. It doesn’t take long to get me back there, on the busy streets of the city that was once my home.
I’m right there, in that emerald coat, waiting for my taxi which is going to take me away from this city forever. And you know, I'm so full of excitement and love, off I go on an adventure, carefree and hopeful... but I’m yet to realise what this place did to me, how gently and lovingly it showed me who I am. How during these seven years it introduced me to the woman that I became.
Ironically, I’m realising this now, more than a thousand miles away from Warsaw. I can see clearly how much of myself I left there and how much of myself I must retrieve. I long so much it makes me feel sick and as the Dedication ends I only repeat in my head “Don’t go back”. Because I know there is nothing there from my memory. There may be the same streets and the lime-trees but it’s different, the story is different and the story must move on. Now my heart is only broken, but if I go back there and if I'll be hopeful... that's when my heart will shatter.
For the last few weeks I was working on a series of encaustic collages - all based on my inspiration which is a scrapbook of pictures, photographs, postcards, letters and newspaper cut-outs. The scrapbook is titled “1969 January 6th, The Adamsons Emigrated to New Zealand” and it holds the letters and postcards exchanged between the Adamsons and Barbara. Also all the keepsakes that Barbara collected, keepsakes that related to their big trip and the place that they moved into. And you know, if I’m to have this scrapbook now, I thought, I own them something. So I made these collages, I covered them with layers of wax to make their letters and postcards more permanent. What I realised though, just yesterday, is that I focused on someone else’s emigration and all that they left behind, while I myself am still not quite sure what happened with me during my own emigration. All those art journal pages I made in last years, and there were many of them, not a single one was about the parts of me that I left in that city. I think I have a lot of homework to do. For now here are some of the Adamson's inspired pieces. I'm dropping the subject now, must focus on something else.
Some of the collages are available in my Etsy shop. I must set them free and let them travel again.