Ready To Burst

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities - Arvada CO, 2017

Handmade paper, wire, beeswax, chalk pastel, powdered pigment, ink, baby-blanket yarn, light, Poem by Maria Berardi


Ready to Burst and Unraveling showed concurrently at the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities during the summer of 2017. These two installations present parallel compositions addressing two contrasting experiences post-conception - one work celebrating the joy of impending motherhood, while the other mourning the heartbreak of miscarriage. I collaborated with Maria Berardi, a gifted poet, with these two works - Maria composed a poem responding to each piece that was displayed as part of the installation. The titles arose out of her poems, as well as a line of text on the arms of the figure in Ready To Burst. There was a recording of Maria reading each poem that could be accessed via cell phone and a code. 

Here is the text of the poem that accompanied Ready To Burst:



Such suspension; heavy in all

the meanings of that word.

The shape of a pregnant woman near term

is discomfiting, embarrassing, unnerving:


people joke, You are as big as a house!

people joke, You are ready to burst!

Such ripeness, such a liminal state

between life – new life! –


and death, that ancestral memory

that babies die. That women die having babies.

A grave matter, this Darwin bargain

of being both big-brained and bipedal.


This end near its ending

a great beginning.


Hands alight on their rightful home

in intimacy with what is within,


and a great gladness glows, right through fear.

This is worth it. This is so worth it.


The planets hang like low-lying fruit

and this sweetness splits itself like living cells;


wasps come to suck and bees,

junkies, stammer at the roses.


This shape a house, a worthy ship.

Burdened, laden.



Resolute. Ready.


-- Maria Berardi