what a healthy girl, and such plentiful organs

2004 - steel and copper wire

I'd been working with my therapist for a few years, and we were stuck. One day I told her that I felt like I had a wire cage inside me. She looked at me like I had two heads.

A couple of years earlier, I'd attended a weekend workshop where Ellen Wieske had taught a technique for making wire baskets. After that fruitless conversation with my therapist, I wondered if I could make a human-shaped basket as a sort of visual aid for her.

So I bought a mannequin to use as a form. And I made a basket in the shape of a human female torso. I found the hanger in a closet in a hundred-year-old commercial building that I bought in 2000. When the building was new, the top floor of it had been an Oddfellows Hall. I think I found 2 or 3 hangers in the closet. When it became clear that I was going to make more than 2 or 3 sculptures, I found more hangers on eBay.

I filled the bottom half of the sculpture with smaller baskets. They're made of copper wire, and they're all about the size of a fist. When people talk about organs, they often describe them as being about the size of a fist.

I called it "what a healthy girl, and such plentiful organs" - a reference to an episode of Invader Zim. I took a photograph of it and brought it to the therapist's office. And that was pretty much the end of my work with that therapist, which was a healthy and long overdue development. I'm grateful to the sculpture for showing us the way out, and to the therapist for letting me go.

In 2013, she was the cover girl for a show at the Attleboro Arts Museum.

I never imagined that I would make more than one of these sculptures, much less that I would still be working on them 20 years later.