The image of scars came to me in a dream. A human figure lurking in the shadows of a moonlit room stood waiting for me. Its skin was pale-yellow covered in scars of light-to-deep brown, randomly running all over its body and bare head. I wrestled with it, struggled, and fought it until it shrunk into a small figure that I held in my arms. It was still scarred and deformed, but I now saw its beauty, felt its love.
I wanted to recreate the beauty of those scars in this piece. I experimented with varying kinds of paper soaking it in tea and vanilla. Finally, I held heavy, coarse paper over the gas flame of the kitchen stove. As it burned the paper turned yellow then brown and then black. I quickly doused the flame in a pan of water preserving the multi-colored edges. Some pieces I tore and burned the edges, others I folded and burned the seams.
By happy accident, two figures appeared. I hadn't decided whether to have the figure stand upright or bend over and I ended up leaving both of them. As I worked, a friend saw the piece and described two figures, one hunched over and the other standing behind it. I was surprised by his description; I saw two figures embracing. I looked at the piece in a mirror and was able to see what he saw. I finished the piece while looking at it through the mirror.
A line from the Prayer for Marriage in the Book of Common Prayer kept coming to my mind. I typed it up and printed it out and cut it into strips then affixed it between some of the scars.
"Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other's forgiveness and yours. Amen"
Prayer for Marriage, BCP