Etching and Found Objects

BeautySentDear Laura,

I am so thrilled to have this work complete and in the mail to you.  I can’t wait to see how this collaboration comes together.  It is the beginning of so much more to come and I know that documenting it now will make future work that much more rich and full.  I thought I would talk a bit about my work and process for this exhibition.  First, let’s share the artist statement we wrote….

“Two Artists Shifting Perspectives on Beauty”

Laura Gaffke and Tina Hirsig are separated by over 800 miles on the east coast, but have maintained an active creative partnership for over eight years.  Conversations on the phone and written letters shared on their website act as catalyst for invention in their separate studios.  They are one another’s muses.

In this exhibition you will witness these women contemplating the meaning of beauty.  Beauty is a topic that continually surfaced in their Vision/ReVision mail art project. Using paint, found objects, drawing, and collage Laura and Tina have begun the work of understanding if beauty is an object, an idea, an innate part of the human spirit, or something else.  What is it about beauty that informs our choices, connections, and values we hold dear?

Laura and Tina received grant funding to expand the conversation about beauty to their communities from the organization Enough Pie in Charleston, SC. This project is an interactive installation that provides a strip of canvas and a pen for people to answer the question “Beauty is…”.  Tina brought the installation to the “Awakening” art festival in South Carolina and Laura brought it to Connecticut at Laura’s Open Studio event. With over six hundred responses, it has inspired the larger pieces of art you will see in the gallery.  The artists will have this installation up at Studio M and welcome your response to continue their mission of expanding the conversation and inspiration.   


In thinking about beauty and creating a more in depth response with these larger pieces (I will have three included in the exhibit) I focused on ordinary moments of beauty found in my collection of antique photos.  I included mixed media materials: epoxy resin molds, etchings on glass, graphite drawing, and found materials (Carolina Sweetgrass) as you see in the above photo.

These are the photos that inspired me.


I know that beauty for me is in these small moments.  It doesn’t have to be grand, but simply watching a game or having a drink with friends can feel like beauty.

I, like you, have been trying to meditate.  This is my first time trying it.  I wanted to do this to tap into this beauty of ordinary moments, but I have to say that I am not awesome at it- my mind races around in every direction except where it should be!

It is harder than I thought, but I need it right now at this busy time of year.  My goal is to continue practicing this through the summer with a new series of artwork I have bubbling up.    For now, I will leave you with an photograph of one of my ‘ordinary moment of beauty’ artworks.  Looking forward to our artist talk on May 15th!

Take care,





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