A number of years ago I became captivated with old family photos that my father brought home after my grandmother had passed on. As I looked into the eyes of my grandmother and my other ancestors, I experienced a strange and intimate connection and felt a deep desire to enter their worlds. I was especially drawn to photos of my grandmother during her adolescence.
My first altered books were an attempt to preserve the essence of who I imagined my grandmother to be when she was a child and a young adult.
I had a desire to bring her story back to life, to give it structure and form, to know who she was in the world so many decades ago. With her as the subject, my imagination began to fill in the empty spaces of her life story, as I found myself breathing life back into her through my altered book art.
HOW IT STARTED
Teresa Bakota Yatsko
As a young adult, my grandmother faced certain challenges in her life that I imagine caused her much fear and confusion.
Through her strength and resilience she persevered and became a remarkable woman that showed me unconditional heart-felt love and acceptance.
This piece represents the power of her womanhood and the beauty I saw within her.
ABOUT MY PROCESS: Taking a photo and giving it a new environment
My dad grew up in a row house on a city street in Queens NY. He has shared fond memories of escaping to the countryside as a child.
In this piece I have placed him in a tree house to capture that moment. What I love about this photo is that my dad continues to have this same playful and gentle yet devious expression on his face 91 years later. The child is always there, not too far below the surface.
In preparation for the creation of a new book, I enjoy the process of collecting found objects, old photographs, and other supporting visual images that grab my attention. During my daily walks in the woods and along the lake shores, I gather a variety of earth and plant based materials such as moss, fungi, lichen, tree bark, drift wood, and stones to incorporate into my work.
The books and book pages I use in my art come from my local used book sale to benefit the public library. I usually go on my book hunt the last day of the sale, to recover interesting books that would otherwise be recycled.