Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Complex Conflicts

I was attracted to do an illustration of Patricia' Hampl's newly released memoir, "The Florist's Daughter", for it's universal theme of parent-daughter intertwinings and the internal conflict that comes with it. As her brother left home years before to start a life out West, Hampl stays behind in her hometown in Minnesota, always within the reach of her parents, as the dutiful and rooted daughter. Her librarian mother, a secret-wanna- be- writer, 'loved her daughter to distraction", while her artistic father [the florist of the title], held the belief that "order exists within matter itself and is understood as elegance." Her mother was the cheerleader for Hampl's career choice of writer, but her father taught her about beauty. As she longed for faraway lands, it was the opposite forces of her much loved and much loving parents that rooted her to her home town her entire life. She is so intertwined in her parents and they with her that at some times she lacks her own clear vision and voice of what her life can be.

I initially envisioned her as a grown woman in the piece, as the book begins at her mother's death bed, her florist father long past but still felt; but I decided it was appropriate to make her a young girl, as the dynamic they lived [or we all live] begins way before we are able to realize it has begun. As she sits devotedly by her mother waiting for her final hours, we are made to realize that upon her mother's death will also come the death of a daughter. She will be no body's child.