My friend Sonia moved into a restored Victorian hotel a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it. So much so I almost opened a studio in one of the suites. The building was once the Sierra Madre Hotel, built in 1887, and lived among nothing but orange groves for years. As the city changed, the hotel became several other things including a private residence and a bordello!
Judy and Greg Asbury bought the property a few years back and spent a lot of money turning it into a multi-apartment dwelling. The house is grand, with a deep front yard with white picket fence and flowers. The backyard patio was home to many barbecues and casual parties. We played piano and opened Christmas presents in the parlor, had elaborate, delicious dinners in the dining room, chatted and drank wine on the veranda. We even welcomed dozens of children on Halloween.
Greg and I were discussing photography and shamanism (both of us do both of those things). I asked about any trinkets they had from the remodeling. He rewarded me with a multitude of items that were found in walls, rooms, and the garden. I collected some flowers from the garden and ran home to create. This is the result. A letter more than 100 years old, wallpaper at least as old, medicine bottles from when the home was a sanitarium, the precious leather baby shoe, the square nail proving its age. What a joy to tell even just a small part of this building’s storied history in one piece of art. I hope to do more like this, for organization, community, and other anniversaries or tributes. Here is more about the house.
This piece represents the kind of historical assemblage I can create to honor an event, a town, a business, organization, building, anniversary, etc.