Maryrose Smyth lists her passions as: art making, family and a self-declared “artist’s preserve” that she calls home, where she lives and works in the foothills of LA. She studies off-loom weaving with Ferne Jacobs, MFA and is a member of the Writer's Collective in Los Angeles working with poets: Jack Grapes, Tresha Faye Haefner and Ellen Bass. Her poetry appears in F.R.E.D; Wax Seal Literary Magazine, August 2018, “To My Dear Dead Grandmother.” Her poem “Liberty” was an honorable mention in the Cultural Weekly Poetry Contest of 2015.
I’ve been walking into the dark with art for years—first, with paint, then with writing, then with fiber art six years ago when I started hand knotting with off-loom knotting weaver, Ferne Jacobs, MFA and saw the exhibition Manus x Machina at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Then, my piece Body Botanica: A Hero’s Cape for Mother Earth was born. I kept thinking about earth, as in Mother Earth, nature, the act of making and remaking using one’s hands rather than a machine (as in the Met show) and kept building the piece over several years. When my piece grew wide and thick at the shoulders, it resembled, to me, the monumental 9’-0”H Hellenistic marble statue Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called Nike which had wings of Victory as the goddess alights to the prow of a ship bringing celestial peace to humanity. My piece is about ceaselessness— layering in knots as I’ve observed in nature and shaping the knots as erratic, plain, stacked, curved or with pierced areas to approximate an earth that is mossy, glittery, bulbous, plain, dark, light, soft, etc.—much like land and water and generative, how I imagine Mother Earth making and remaking herself. Mother Earth is a woman who won’t give up, because doesn’t know how to—it’s not in her plan. She’s a mother place, a lover and friend—who does the next thing, making knots in her way, in a constant motion. An innovator who makes room or moves on by earthquake, flood, wind or fire as long as she’s in the creation game. She’s an old school mother who has mastered the mound and cliff by the process of obliteration, pluck, continuity and design. My piece is a practice of beginning again and again like Mother Earth. A feral child who cares only to amuse herself, knotting and shaping Grand Canyons, Forests, valleys, caves, rivers, lakes or woods—the infinitesimal or grandiose—sculpting of havoc with time and material. I put that into my work and my love of “mistakes” as proof of the beauty by the work of one’s hands, heart and mind. Art is a hard wrought joy.