Between March and May of 2022, I stayed with Finca Morada as an artist-in-residence.
Finca Morada est. 2019 is a QTBIPOC centered cooperative of artists, activists, farmers, & nature shepherds, & ½ acre urban food forest garden sanctuary. We practice living in reciprocity with nature; host community events & educational workshops; provide affordable housing; & host artist residency & internship programs. And through project, Grow Roots Miami, we build free productive edible gardens & food forests for low income families.
Our work is centered in cultivating resilience through a holistic lense. We do this by nurturing interdependent community relationships; inspiring cultural shifts towards living in connection with our local ecology; practicing sustainability through workshops, neighborhood composting, resource sharing, regenerating soil, growing food & medicine, harvesting rainwater; offering events to nourish emotional, spiritual, & physical wellbeing; & honing collective tools to process & hold space for climate & disaster grief (from fincamorada.org).
During my time at Finca Morada, I wanted to the confront the disconnect between myself and nature that my artistic practice had made me aware of at the time. My intentions were to ground and connect to the land at Finca Morada, deepen my connection with the community that keeps it alive, and be immersed within the shared knowledge and Finca Morada's practice of "nature-based culture."
On the very first evening of my stay, I sat in the kitchen with Chris. We were drinking green tea with honey, and I started to cry. They told me if all I wanted to do was sit in the garden for two months and cry, that I could.
I am still crying.
And I am still learning the garden's songs, having been given the gift of sharing their breath.
Throughout my stay, I created a series of works that co-existed with and were given life by the land and community of Finca Morada. Below is a collection of documentation of how it all manifested.
it feels like there is a tiny person scraping the lining of my uterus, 2022
(11 min, 42 sec)
-woah, look this pattern -what's in here that the bees are attracted to? -i don't know. good question. ... -yeah i'll go over there -i'm thinking about cleaning out the lining of my uterus -yeah. that is some real scraping -scraping. i mean, that's how it feels a lot of the time. it feels like there's a little person sc- -scraping. -scraping. -yeah -yeah -that is what it feels like. -right? -that's going to be the title of this video -scraping the lining of my uterus? -there is a tiny person scraping the lining of my uterus. -yeah yeah yeah. yeah, i've said this so many times. -yeah! -if time's not linear, this is me. i am the tiny person. -wow. -wow. cause like, maybe if i lived slower, and more in alignment, then i wouldn't have to scrape the lining of my uterus. it would just flow. -right -but because i'm just-i'm like operating within the paradigm of capitalism and the hustle or whatever, and like, making decisions and moves that are not in alignment with the flow of the universe. -yeah. -at the end of the cycle, there's all this mess. -yeah. -to clean up this internal detritus. here we are. -here we are. woah. ... so, you're scraping the uterus, right, the lines, i'm going to be lining it again. -wow!! ugh! wow wow. that is fucking beautiful. woo! okay. wanna get in here and do some scraping? wanna scrape your uterus? -i don't have shoes. -ah! i feel you. okay. i just didn't want you to miss out -i don't- i feel bad. -yeah well you're gonna line the uterus. i'm scraping it. we're working together. it's all good. it's one uterus. ... i'm painting the sides. -i know, it looks so beautiful. - [laughs] -i feel good.
cleaning the pool with Chris, Jayme, Jorge, Bryan, and Krizo
the pool was cleaned out and flipped over on the Virgo Full Moon. the space that held this pool became the space that would hold the pit fire for the terracotta vessels on the Libra Full Moon. Today, it exists as a salt water pool!!
redart vessel holding Aries New Moon fire
vessels receiving, 2022
terracotta, redart, breath, tears, laughter, rain, dirt, leaves, flowers, papers, copper wire, love letters, misc residues, moonlight, sunlight
Eight terracotta vessels were wheel-thrown, and one large redart vessel was hand-built for the Aries New Moon, and Finca Morada held a Queer, Trans, and Non-Binary Inclusive Womxn's New Moon Circle, during which these vessels were activated.
A description of this New Moon Circle from Finca Morada's Instagram for context:
"The new moon will be in Aries, the start of the astrological year. As Aries is the first and cardinal fire sign, we will gather in the garden around a fire as a means to draw inspiration, ground, connect, and set intentions both individually and for the collective. The fire, respectfully, can also be a tool to help release or transform anything still lingering after the last full moon. It's up to you how you wish to engage with the fire. Bring a journal & pen as we will spend some time quietly sitting with ourselves and set intentions. Journal prompts, a guided meditation, and herbal tea from the garden will be offered."
The redart vessel held our fire that evening. It held it late into the night, and even after having cracked from the pressure of the heat, it maintained its structure until the fire burned out completely. The reflections from our meditation and journal prompts were offered to this fire.
The eight terracotta vessels began their journeys sitting nested close to each other for the New Moon Circle. Everyone offered living pieces from the garden that resonated with them into the vessel they were called towards. They were also invited to offer the last sips of their tea and/or water from the evening. The following day, the eight vessels were intentionally placed around the garden. For two weeks, until the Libra Full Moon, these eight vessels sat; absorbing, observing, and collecting their surroundings.
On Friday, April 15th, the rain visited, feeding the garden and these eight terracotta vessels.
pouring out the rainwater from April 15th rain, preparing them for their sunbath before the pit fire.
chris preparing the redart vessel for the aries new moon fire
(2 min, 38 sec)
the redart vessel held the fire all night
(8 min, 1 sec)
On Saturday, April 16th, was the Libra Full Moon. That evening, I was joined by Chris, Elise, Jayme, Jorge, Lauryn, and Rafael in preparation for a pit fire that the eight terracotta vessels would sit in. We sat and ate together outside on the back porch, sharing stories. We gathered dry leaves from the garden, sawdust, fire wood, and other dried plants and flowers that would be offered to the fire the following night. Chris and I dug the pit. Inside, we sat together with the vessels and held a circle. Chris led a meditation. Each person held a vessel and wrapped copper wire around them. Copper wire exists as a very important element in my clay-based work (specifically citing the copper wire/bentonite/redart works). As a conductor of energy, for this fire, it was not only a means to concentrate the heat; it existed as a facilitator of the movement of energy that felt stuck inside of me and of those who were looking to release and move stagnancy . In the fire, the copper wire reaches a point of exhaustion, having held so much in the process. It is left brittle, but still maintained exactly in the place it began. These terracotta vessels were activated by those who came to the Aries New Moon Circle, as well as by those who joined me on the Libra Full Moon. After wrapping the vessels with copper wire, we wrote any intentions and any pressures we wanted to release on small pieces of paper that were embedded in between the copper wire and the vessels.
photos taken by Jayme Gershen
On Sunday evening, April 17th, Chris and I sat with the fire.
Chris and I sat with the fire from 7pm until 1am. At around 3am it rained.
The fire itself held the eight terracotta vessels wrapped in copper wire, filled with offerings; these were nestled in the very middle over sawdust. the fire was built around them with fire wood, and a nest of dried leaves from finca's garden, as well as dried flowers that I had collected over the last three years; from past lovers, family, friends, from myself, for my period. redart slabs embedded with copper wire, some brushed with bentonite, lined the walls of the pit- acting as witnesses.
one stoneware vessel holds a record the various tones of browns and grays from the process. The rain shocked the vessels, causing most of them to crack and break into many pieces. This release of pressure facilitated in the transformations of the offerings, intentions, and releases initiated on the New Moon and Full Moon circles.
Copyright © 2021 leslie gomez gonzalez - All Rights Reserved.