Before the merman, before the math, there was a girl with big dreams and a bright view of the world, melting crayons into hearts and folding voices into clay, thinking mostly impractical things…


Anatomy of a Human Heart

Wax. Originally a study on the form of repetition, several identical pieces were discarded, leaving two separate pieces, or “chambers” which are mirrored in the base. The concept evolved from Psalm 22:14b, “…my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast,” and is an early exploration into the relationship between the structural lines of science and the fluidity of art.



Jerusalem Prayer

Glazed Stoneware. Inspired by the Hebrew and Arabic lettering for peace, this “impractical container” brings together the Semitic scripts into the shape of a womb or, if seen from above, a cross, and is reminiscent of a candle flame.



The Moment of a Force

Digital Sketch. CG rendering of Tara’s personal engineering notes covering rotational motion and the cross product of three-dimensional vectors.  In this sketch, color and shape replace traditional, mathematical variables.



Lotus Teacups

“You see, Dominic, greatness is not often derived from the object itself, but from the systems and conditions that surround it.”

-Gill Ullrich, Rebel Fires

Glazed Stoneware. Pinch pot teacups (25 ml) on a structural, lotus flower base marked one of the first explorations into the ideas and themes that would become Rebel Fires & The Merman’s Mark.




Weathered frame on a junk pile,
Laced in spiders’ webs,
Destined for a landfill.

There are marks on its side.
Secret panel with hinges?
In a library, perhaps,
Or monastery?

No, a door.
Solid wood
Where trees are scarce.

Beautiful wood.
Chips of paint
And graying timber—
The kind that crumbles
And rots.

I sand away the crumbs,
Disturbing the worms
That crawl from its holes.
Sad; they are losing their home.
And angering.

How could the reverent neglect such a wood
In a place where wood is scarce?

How to explain the careless?

The lament read at funerals:
“The thought of my homeless poverty
is wormwood and gall,”
Elevated in the recesses of grief,
Set apart and made holy.

An icon.

On rotting wood once the home of worms.
Is this clastic or philic?

Jasna Gora, Czestochowa:
Struck by an arrow,
Two blows from the sword.
Bejeweled and beloved.

Rebellious, Resilient.
A roadmap for the dead.

Olive, dark, and burnt sienna.
Corpse enlivened by yellow,
Red and gold.

So much impractical gold
For a broken door.

Or is she an icon?

Painted on rotting wood once the home of worms,
Pointing to…

Does a woman reside here?
Does a question?
A dare:
What do you see?
Which would you save?
(Does woman need saving?)
The icon? The door?

Acryllic, Impasto on Wood. An old farmhouse door destined for the landfill is given a new story: an ancient icon from an abandoned monastery. Named for the worms that crawled from its crevices during sanding, the damaged wood inspired reflections on the iconoclastic debate and the meaning of “usefulness.” Intermittedly painted and damaged, the image invites the viewer to finish its history: The Madonna at Czestochowa, an icon with its own dramatic past that was so common to the funeral cards of Tara’s childhood— what if it had not been so carefully looked after and defended? What if it was up to you to decide? Would you restore the icon or the door?

See also: Wormwood Commentery (Irreverent Version)