Elaine Grenier and Sylvia Tello Trumbull
Our work explores a merging of clay and henequen or sisal fibers. A new formulation of clay that incorporates paper fiber, allowing for sculpted forms that are lighter and more resilient than traditional clay work, inspired us to search for a modular “building block” that could be the primary unit for construction of large light-weight pieces. We happened upon “estropajos” in the local markets in San Miguel de Allende. They are made of indigenous sisal and are found in the day to day life of many Mexican households. As we explored, learned, and stretched the possibilities of the materials, the forms took on a life of their own. The resilience and pliability of the modules when wet made it possible to drape, join and sculpt them into forms that suggest organic growth.
Each piece in this installation is composed of a dynamic network of fibrous layers that appear fragile but are in fact strong. The opposition of fragility and strength, density and transparency hint at the contradictions we all experience in life.