We went to Johnson City last Friday … not because we planned to, but because both the restaurant and the store in Blanco that we wanted to go to were closed.

Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

So we strolled through some JC galleries we had been to before and walked past one that looked closed … all the art work was sitting on the floor, propped up against the wall, waiting to be hung.

But hey, it was open … so we went in … and met the new owner, an artist and author … and a kindred spirit it turns out. We left with this in hand …

44 small print reproductions of 44 collages he made over a six year period … 44 representations in as many languages of the word “hope.”

You can go to Mark Smith’s website and view a video of what he told us in person. But the heart of it is knowing that his project began in 2008 and the number 44 represents Barack Obama, who was elected to the presidency that year.

I was fascinated. And upon getting home, I found myself pulling out collage cards of the non-linguistic “languages” …

from the upper left and going clockwise: binary code, Braille, Morse code, sound waves and semaphore flags. It’s worth enlarging the images for a closer look.

But the collage card that really drew me in was this one in Spanish …

enough so that I felt compelled to respond to it in cloth and stitch …

esperanza … the softest whisper word of hope.

15 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Kindred, indeed. Reminds me of your peace projects. What a compelling project! The flag card was the only one, tho, that seemed to correlate to the stated meaning.


      1. Watched 3/4’s in bed this morning. Will finish later. First: what beautiful hands the artist has and how well they were filmed up against his black coat. Second, what a gorgeous concept! Third, I love his execution and had no idea the pieces were SO LARGE. Thanks for sharing.


  2. That sounds like a fun day. We certainly need all the hope we can get.

    Brenda Thomas was in our indigo class Sat & she has a new gallery on 290 in Johnson City. Sadly the name escapes me but she mentioned Mark Smith.

    I’ve been thinking of you & wondering how your move is going/coming along.


    Sent from my iPad


  3. Hope , 4 letters, holding deep meaning. In Spanish, the word becomes a long, soft whisper of light that given the times we live in, morphs into a beacon…your varied tattered cloth pieces, the colors, soft and strong, the exquisite stitching of the word Esperanza,echoes the softness and power of the word,

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    1. Thanks so much Liz for this post and for putting the links re Mark Smith. I’m so glad I took the time to watch and listen to Mark Smith’s interview: Yes, he was inspired in 2008 by a feeling of hope that he had not felt in a very long time but in his interview, he goes deeper into the why of his Hope collages. He referred to the fact that it was not necessarily politically driven although this was the time of Obama but more to the point he felt a need to build bridges, to connect globally, in a way that he, as an artist, could do. Over the course of the 6 years that it took for him to complete this project, he came to realize that it was needed more than ever, this way of sharing Hope.

      I especially liked the fact that his exhibition is an interactive one because each one who attends, can write their own words of hope that are placed in a bowl…Not being able to be there, nonetheless, I did just that. Wrote out some words of hope and placed them on my alter and this small action so strongly echoes this sense of how when there is a collective will, no matter what level of artistry, no matter what form it takes, we answer the call. In fact at the end of the interview, Mark ends by saying words to the effect that if we all do small things, they can change the world…And in this community of creativity, of cloth, of wood design, of assemblages, of metal work, of painting, of writing,, we see, share, connect and know that together, we touch each other and others, and go forward in understanding and commitment to making our world a better place..

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  4. HOPE, yes, much needed. I’m glad you found something worthy of hope sharing. Your fabric choices are charming and bright, filled with cheer…hope. Thanks.


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