Erin Coleman-Cruz received her MFA in Studio Art from Northern Illinois University and her Bachelors in Art Education from Goshen College in Indiana. She moved to Salt Lake City in 2011 where she practices and teaches design and art.
Both Coleman-Cruz’s art-making and design practices range between personal narratives and public collaborative works that address issues such as creative re-use, sustainable design, domestic space, wearable arts, and social issues pertaining to women and gender. Her skills and interests include teaching, museum and exhibition curation, electronic portfolio development and digital collections, and collaborative projects. Coleman-Cruz serves on the board of the Sugar House Farmers Market as Education Outreach Coordinator and leads programing for children to teach them about where their food comes from while learning skills for upcycling used materials into art and craft. She exhibits locally and nationally, and made her international debut in 2011 with a work of collaborative performance art, The Merkeyna Coif Boutique. Recent exhibitions include “I’m thinking of changing my smile” at the Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, Illinois, and “Confluence” at Unhinged SLC.
Flood the Luminous Body
Our sufferings do not magically end; instead we are able to wisely alchemically recycle them. They become the abundant waste that we use to make new growth possible. – bell hooks*
An inner landscape takes form through crystallized tears, maps of inner journeys appear on garments, narratives of loss and pain are shared. The terrible beauty of our longings and losses is first succumbed to and then delicately transformed into expressions of coping and keeping, mending and sorting, nurturing and holding. Here the longings to be able to nurture and love, and to be nurtured and loved, are stitched into the very works themselves. There is futility present, and yet so much is surmounted by the expression of a gesture, thought, or word.
As an artist, I find that there is the opportunity to create—via a “magical process”—using an item of little value and transforming it into something of great meaning, which is central to my work. I transform my own difficult—yet often common—experiences into meaningful expressions by selecting simple and abundant materials such as household goods, garments, plants, and salt, and transforming them via an alchemical-esque process. My use of embroidery and other traditional “women’s work” techniques along with lived-used domestic objects that have passed from one use to the next over time serves to remind us that the home is the site of our first “world,” and the objects and functions in those homes are charged with meaning.