LITTLE BRUNA, My First Paper Clay Art Piece

Little Bruna, Paper clay/mixed media, 12 x 18, completed in 2004

This is a small portrait I did of my mother, Bruna Marie Riccomini, from a photograph of her as a child. She died after having Alzheimer's Disease for more than 10 years. If you have ever lost anyone from Alzheimer's, you know that it is a very long process of mourning, as you lose a little more of them each day.

To help process my grief, I stayed home from work for a week in isolation and made this portrait of her from paper clay. It was the first time I tried to use it in bas-relief on a flat surface and it worked. So in a way, I feel that this technique I developed was a gift from my mother.

Bruna was first generation Italian and very proud of it. She came from a very long line of hardworking, innovative, industrious Italians. She was very creative and when she did anything, it was done right. Honoring her with this portrait helped me remember all the wonderful things she ever did for our family, and that she was once a young girl with dreams about a wonderful future.

The words at the top of her portrait say "BRUNA, She made things beautiful and she made beautiful things."

Thank you mom.

My mother, Bruna Marie Riccomini, Age 15