I have always had a fascination with transformation. With taking incongruent parts to make a whole. With cutting and stripping and building up from the bottom and the artist as self-portrait. I could easily be found in childhood obsessing over the arrangement of furniture and décor of my Laura Ashley doll house. Today this is a dining room with a red velvet tablecloth and a chandelier light that chimes a segment from the Four Seasons because my Polly Pocket is the queen and she’s having the tour group Bratz over for tea. Tomorrow it is a miniature of my family’s dining room with boxes and old paint chips and no tablecloth and striped walls that look like silk and show damage easily.
Most of my toys were dolls, the easiest to buy for a girl, the easiest to buy for a child who liked to imagine new worlds. I remember the Betty Spaghetti dolls with neon bodies and plastic hair whose arms and torsos and heads could pop out to be interchangeable. To be made anew. How many times did I snap and unshape the forms of girls to get the end result I wanted. How many times did I teach myself what is, is not always. I remember the What’s Her Face dolls with smooth, blank complexions I could stamp their expressions on. This one is surprised. This one is happy. This one has stars for eyes and an eye for a mouth. The stars were permanent marker, the eye easily removed. My mother did not buy me anymore of those dolls after that. She would tell me not to cut Barbie’s hair because it did not grow back; I could not understand her anger when I cut my own bangs with clunky construction paper scissors. I thought we both knew it would grow back. It must have been the shock, of my swift reveal from one face to another. She must not have recognized me. I was not allowed to cut my hair again. Continue reading “A Catalogue of Small Shatterings by Makensi Ceriani”