In pursuit of capturing the ephemeral, I have been investigating memory palaces. Blinded by their glittering promises of remembrance, I did not notice that I constructed one for the wrong reason. Their construction stands permanent, as the facts inside them are concrete. My palace would crumble, the memories shifting, bumping up against the framework meant to contain them.
The river behind my childhood home rose and fell with me, tasted rain and felt drought with me. The mesas behind it always stood firm in their muddy layers as I faced them, sunburnt and tired. How do I covet this backdrop to my life, save it forever, take it with me? Would building a palace piece by piece suffice? In the cracks of the green front door lie the sunbeams scattered on the water. An upholstered couch settles in the middle of the living room. There, with its smooth edges, it clutches the feeling of the river’s cold water rushing over your toes. The smell of the wet dirt on the bottom of your shoes weaves in and out of the light blue curtains. The opulent mind palace tries hard to contain the river within its walls. But it fails. The furniture can only swell so much, the curtains can only reach so far, as the smells and memories grow over twenty two years. The house aches, about to burst, failing to cement the ever-changing memory of the landscape that raised me.
Isabella Blewett-Raby is a designer and sculptor from Albuquerque, New Mexico who is currently based in Chicago. Working both individually and collaboratively, she is devoted to her brightly colored and texture driven design practice. Electrified by the lives around her she can be found running around Chicago wearing three different patterns at once, photographing the city’s moments of serenity, eating its food, and bumping into its people. Devouring this world motivates her to assemble new ones from scratch: here, needle and thread, then, 35mm, futures, lands.