Debi A Barton
Child, Meet Adult
Under the Trees and Through the Grass, Alvin Tresselt (1962)
Recovered with paper collage, old lace, fibers, etc.
Under the Trees and Through the Grass. Where I played and explored as a child—and an adult—my escape, my reality, worlds often physically smaller and yet always larger than me. Revisiting the book after many years, I was astounded to recognize its influence on my creativity. Colors and shapes of nature, flashes of the unexpected, something just out of sight until one takes time to really look, perhaps a little uncomfortable or unsettling; all hallmarks of my paper and fiber work. My deep love of our Earth inspires my use of abandoned materials: damaged or unwanted textiles one step away from horrifically huge piles of textile waste, cast-off magazines and papers still holding stories waiting to be rewritten, the occasional unwanted object destined to rust away for years in a landfill.
I was still marveling at how this one book in my past informed my present when, in an all-too-familiar flash of ADHD clarity as I was packing to leave town, I remembered I was supposed to alter the pages and not just the cover of my chosen RE-covery II book. A couple minutes of sheer panic led me, of habit, to my art journals, my refuge and repositories for uncomfortable emotions. Like forests they are undemanding, imperfect, meditative. They contain hidden meanings, surprises, bits of dreams, remnants of nightmares. They are not created with intent to conform, to be seen, to be judged, but only to reflect who I am at the moment of their creation. How fitting, then, that I overlay journal pages on a copy of my childhood book, as a tale of who I once was, who I am no longer, who I am still.
That which lies deepest within the heart never grows old.
Debi A. Barton is a collagist, art quilter, and occasional photographer based in southern Vermont. Her work is informed primarily by nature and the need to care for the Earth. She prefers to use cast-off unwanted papers, textiles, and other small abandoned objects that were headed to landfills but have stories yet to be told.
Debi’s art journals have most recently been featured in Art Journaling magazine (January 2019, July 2019, January 2020). Her fabric art has been exhibited in Norris Cotton Cancer Center (2018), Claremont MakerSpace (frequently), the Beyond Gallery formerly of Bennington, VT, and AVA Gallery (“Shadowing Alfred,” 2020).