.Artist Brings the Cycle of Life and Death to her Work

Good morning and happy Wednesday to all! I hope this finds heads high and hearts hopeful, despite the challenges we’re facing as a nation. May this week’s “Look” be a source of light as we navigate the darkness.

Catherine Sieck is an artist based in Sonoma County, whose work can be seen most easily on the A Street wall of The Spinster Sisters in the SOFA district in Santa Rosa. In Sieck’s mural, two sisters sit, one at a spindle, one attending to needle work. The detail of the sisters becomes even more inspiring when one learns that the pieces are painted replications of Sieck’s papercut originals—each line artfully and exactingly extracted.

An artist already, Sieck lost her mother in 2018, and she attended closely to the entirety of the process, inviting an element of sacredness and honor to death not always seen in western culture. This event had a major impact on Sieck’s work, deepening her connection to the cycle of life and death as it appears all around us.

In both her copper work and her paper cutting, Sieck includes bees and pomegranates, which, unbeknownst to some, are associated with the journey between life and death. A beekeeper and gardener herself, and an artist who lives with her partner in quite rural circumstances, Sieck is deeply connected to both. 

“Bees and pomegranates are recurring symbols in my work and cherished companions in my day-to-day life. Both are associated with the journey between this life and the afterlife, this world and the under/other world. Mythologically, they’re beautiful companions to people in big transition and loss; bees bring the souls of the dead to the other world. Persephone eats the pomegranate in the underworld that binds her to a cycle of seasonal death and rebirth. As a gardener and beekeeper, as well as someone who has attended to the death of a parent, the interplay of the mythos and the daily lived interactions feels really meaningful to me and is exciting terrain to make work in,” said Sieck.

Sieck’s work in both copper and paper is an intricate, evocative homage to the layered and multi-faceted experiences in between life and death.

Explore and purchase her work via her website, www.catherinesieck.com.

See you next week, everyone!

Love always,

Jane

Jane Vick is an artist and writer based in Oakland. She splits her time between Europe, New York and New Mexico. View her work and contact her at janevick.com.

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