This piece started with the frame–a lovely old wooden piece in gold and black with a few chips and dings around the edges, bought at a last-chance thrift shop. It no longer had a back, so I made one from secondhand cardboard painted black. Onto this I mounted a coyote skull from another crafter’s destash, with four ears of wheat from an old floral arrangement radiating out from it, and another in the coyote’s mouth. These, speckled with black paint, represent the five in the Five of Coins card of the tarot, which represents material and related loss, interpreted as a blighted field of grain. The coyote grasps one of these diseased grasses, but to no avail; the air plants it carries in its eye sockets are dead and dried; they can no longer be sustained. A disc made of red slider turtle shell (invasive in parts of the U.S.) further emphasizes the Coins aspect of the card, as turtle shell has been used as currency in certain cultures.
It is a stark piece, one that speaks to our current economic upheaval, and the fact that even in the best of times there are those who struggle and have lost all they have. Yet it is also a reminder of resiliency; bone is the most durable part of the animal, and it weathers what the flesh cannot survive. Even when the winnowing has occurred and much has been taken away, the strongest part of one’s life and self emerges from the trying times, a reminder that nothing lasts forever–not even blight.