Riding the Fence, Pulling the Trigger

Denim, cotton, heirloom corduroy quilt, limestone boulder, 20-gauge shotgun, steel plate, cottonwood log, and digital photograph

This is her home
               this thin edge of
-Gloria E. Anzaldúa


This work explores the intersection of place and identity, emerging from my own experience of growing up geographically, culturally, and ethnically ‘mixed.’ Between my places of origin (the upper-Midwest and Southwestern borderlands of the United States) the contrast of family traditions, visual heritage, and vernacular landscapes of these two environments is undeniable. I am interested in the spot of convergence, the inbetween place where my own identity has been crafted from dissimilar places of origin. In investigating and presenting this work from a personal perspective, this project creates a platform for conversation about the multiethnic, multicentered experience of identity that resides in physical and psychological in between spaces.


Riding the Fence, Pulling the Trigger digs into this physical and psychological inbetween space through a series of hand-made objects, found materials and borrowed text that amplify ways of knowing that are regional and emblematic of their site of origin. Hunting, quilting, natural landscapes, and cultural traditions are referenced in ways that intentionally remix Midwestern Anglo-Americana and the Hispano/Indigenous Southwest. This project appropriates the craft of my parents (a gunsmith and a quilter) to recombine familial knowledge as a way of transgressing the boundaries of tradition and experimenting with new interpretations of mark-making.


Using a 20-gauge Winchester shotgun that I refinished and carved with images of creosote bushes, I fired more than two-hundred shells at a limestone boulder quarried from the Robledo Mountains along the Rio Grande. Images of that boulder, alongside the shotgun are set in conversation with an inverted landmark carved from a dead cottonwood tree and a patchwork textile map sewn from heirloom quilts. This work embodies the Borderlands/La Frontera philosophy of Gloria Anzaldúa, using creative mark-making and object poetry to embrace the gnarly, imperfect, ethereal inbetween space.


video documentation of shoot process below