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Sidra Kaluszka

I lost my family home. The home which I grew up the vast majority of my life. A home that I helped take care of. Yards I tended, orchard I worked. Many works created, dreams developed, and realities slammed home. I have been working to create a body of work to reconcile my thoughts and memories of home with what it was in the end. A house in desperate need of repair. Land in need of attention. Orchard over grown and sick. Far too much for one aging parent to take care of. I have also been asking myself “what is home?”. Childhood memories are frequently idealized. Everything seems larger than life. Parts of it are still a fairytale, a place where magic can happen if I would only wish it hard enough. Memories and dreams blur together, creating their own reality. A reality of dreams based on reality and blurred by time.

I have always been drawn to the moon. I remember playing outside as a child well into dusk. Watching the moon rise. Listening to the chirp of crickets, the sound of spring peepers. Running through the grass trying to catch fireflies. If I closed one eye I could pretend I was in fact holding the moon in one hand.

I have been learning about cyanotypes on my own, and unguided. It’s been an interesting working my way through all of the technical aspects. What kind of paper to use, applications of medium, drying time, exposure time, washing etc. I now feel I have a good understanding about manipulation and what I can expect. I have particularly enjoyed the incorporation of my watercolor skills in medium application. This adds additional depth that the printing process alone wouldn’t be able to create. The texture and manipulation help give my work soul, and mood. Each piece of paper is uniquely different. I balance what I’m looking to create next in a print, with the texture I have created on each piece of paper. I wish the two to enhance each over. Did you ever pick plants at night in the moonlight?

The living room hearth. A place of gathering. The Christmas tree would go to the left side. With presents decked out around the bottom, and stockings placed by the fire side. Easter baskets with sweets, and eggs piled up. A room where magic and wonder combined into one. Where my imagination could expand. Not a room with water damage streaking the wall paper. Wood floors with the finish worn off. Leaky windows with excessive water damage. Somehow even the lighting seems less bright. No longer do I see the glow of wonder, or possibilities.

It’s interesting watching things grow, and how my mind can switch part of my present reality into the past. This cherry tree that was planted when I was a kid, and has beautiful pink fluffy blossoms every spring. But it’s hard to remember it being small, as it was always relatively bigger than I was at any given time. Nested under its branches in the back is a gazebo I used to love to play in. The gazebo had its own evolution. A nesting ground for barn swallows for many years. Watching the baby birds learn now to fly in the evenings was always a joy. Till the red winged blackbirds took over the territory. From there it’s wonderous quality shifted downward. Getting over grown. No longer nesting birds but wasps and other stinging insects. To yet more danger with questionable rotted floor boards. But here it’s still a dream, and a place to play

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