• Molly

Personal Stratigraphy Maps and Memory Tracings

I haven't written anything in a while. School has started back up and balancing of all of my various jobs often feels like a juggling act on a unicycle with flaming torches during a pandemic. The art is still getting made but website updates and other administrative stuff has taken a back seat. In fact, I actually started this post several months ago but am just now getting around to finishing it so I've added some additional information about Memory Tracings to the end of the post.


I started a series back in March that I have called my personal stratigraphy maps. Stratigraphy is a term used in geology and is defined as:


The branch of geology concerned with the order and relative position of strata and their relationship to the geological time scale.

  • the analysis of the order and position of layers of archaeological remains.

  • the structure of a particular set of strata.

This is the kind of geology my grandparents discussed over the dinner table. I am looking into the past, my personal stratigraphy of thoughts and family history, to build abstract mixed media collages. I started off making them on paper but moved to books after seeing an open call from the Kanyer Art Collection asking for collage made in books. I completed one book of personal stratigraphy maps, titled English Lakeland Personal Stratigraphy Maps in Color!, which was purchased by the Kanyer Art Collection (thank you Laurie and Doug, I'm still over the moon about this) and have recently finished my second book, called Tiny Book.



The process has been really enriching. I've thought about my family, who I love and adore and all the things they have given to me. I’ve also thought about how things have been covered up, whitewashed, hidden or not recognized as a problem. By carefully and gently confronting these uncomfortable truths, I have tried to make something beautiful out of the complicated layers of history, both personal and global.


This has directly taken me to my newest work in a book called Figure Skating Technique. The same process of taking my thoughts, feelings and memories to create layers of abstract mixed media work on each page lead to Memory Tracings. In figure skating, tracings are the lines you make, one on top of the other, when testing or competing figures. This was a required part of skating when I was a kid but it was always difficult for me to follow the lines and keep things precise. I much preferred the freedom and speed that came with freestyle, the music, the costumes, the performance was where my heart felt happiest. But, just like with everything in life, you have to put in the hard work and the stuff that comes easily.



Check out some of my #personalstratigraphymap collages and #memorytracings on Instagram.


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