Artist: Amy Williams
Exhibition: MFA Ceramics
Media: Ceramics, Porcelain
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
The second I walked into Amy Williams exhibition and saw these rope-like strings hanging from the ceiling with these little pods hanging from them, it reminded me of a hammock. I know that sounds a little bit weird but I’ll explain it by telling you this story from my childhood.
When I 5 years old, my 3 other siblings and I lived in this ordinary suburban house. But our backyard had this extremely large, guitar shaped, 9 foot pool with a Jacuzzi on the side. You’d think that this was our favorite part of the backyard but it wasn’t. In fact, it was fenced shut so my younger siblings wouldn’t fall in. But we had this beautiful blue and white woven hammock hanging from one post to another from our wooden patio cover. This is where we had most of our fun in our backyard. My brother who is only about a year and a half older than me, invented this game with the hammock. He called it Rocket Ship. It wasn’t really a game, it was more like an experience.
The whole point of it was to lay on the hammock, horizontally so your full body was on it, then wrap the netting of the hammock all around yourself like you are trapped in a little pod.Then, we would start to swing the hammock back and forth slowly at first, then sped it up. While the whole time my older brother was narrating the whole thing saying “we almost have lift off.” And then he would shout, “Blast-off!” and we would spin the the hammock so hard that it was going in circles and upside down while the sibling inside screamed their head off. It was like a crazy carnival ride. When they got so dizzy and couldn’t take it any more, they would yell for it to stop and the rocket ship would finally land.
My siblings and I would spend hours playing Rocket Ship almost everyday. Until one day, the poor hammock could not take the abuse any longer. It ripped through the center during blast-off sending one of my brothers flying into outer space. He was fine, but the hammock wasn’t. It ended up looking like one of William’s art pieces. Which kind of ties in to her theme of fragility. The hammock was very fragile as we learned. The cloth ropes ripped and the hammock unwound into torn strings hanging from the top of the two poles. And with the death of the hammock, came the end of our game.
Our parents never bought us another hammock. It wasn’t until almost 15 years, and a new house later (with no pool unfortunately) that we got another hammock. This one is red and white and a lot sturdier since its made of rope. And it hangs under our wooden patio cover just like the first. But now, my siblings and I are too old and big for such games. Instead we just sit on it and swing like normal boring people do. But I’ll never forget Rocket Ship. So I thank Amy William’s exhibition for reminding me of one of my favorite childhood memories.
R.I.P. Rocket Ship.