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The Music Book     Mixed media     36"X42"

The Book of Lives

In the Jewish faith, all lives are inscribed and then sealed in The Book of Life. Recorded in it are our deeds both good and evil. The Book of Life tells our story, and is signed yearly by the hands of each of us.

Artistic expression often begins with personal recollection, and exploration of family biography has led to this body of work. My family can be traced back to the Mayflower, and headed out west on the Oregon Trail. My great great grandfather ran the stagecoach, post office and general store in Arco, Idaho before moving on to Oregon. My husband's family came to America much later from Russia and the Ukraine. They moved to the west in the early 1900s. We are both a part of truly American families.

Many of the images in these collages are family photographs, records, notes and letters. Some are known to me; others are strangers. Memory, imagination and objective reality are combined in these pieces — family fables, whispered rumor, traditions and fictions are mixed with formal geographies such as maps and charts. The resulting mixed media collages have become pages from The Book of Lives.

Sally Graves Machlis



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