A number of years ago I became captivated with family photos that my father shared with me after my grandmother had passed. As I looked into the eyes of my grandmother and other older family members that had passed, I experienced a strangely intimate connection and felt a deep desire to enter their worlds. I was especially drawn to photographs 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 wanted to bring her story back to life, to give it structure and form. With my grandmother 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 difficult challenges that I imagine caused her much fear and confusion.
Through her strength and resilience, she persevered and became a remarkable woman. She was a pillar of strength for me and showed me unconditional love and acceptance throughout my life.
ABOUT MY PROCESS: Taking a photo and giving it a new environment
My father grew up in a brick row house in Queens, New York. I remember the memories he shared with me of escaping to the countryside as a child and the fun he had there.
In this piece I have placed him in a treehouse to capture that time of his life.
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 capture my attention. During my daily walks in the woods and along the lake shores, I gather moss, fungi, lichen, tree bark, drift wood, and stones to incorporate into my work.
The upcycled books I use in my art come from my local used book sale. Most often, I go on my book hunt the last day of the sale, to recover interesting books that would otherwise be recycled.