Brenna Busse

About Brenna Busse

I have been on this journey called ART for many years, decades, really.
 It didn’t come easy for me, not a gentle call. It was more like being washed up on a beach, and ART picked me up, shook me out and set me on my path. It may sound extreme to say that art saved my life, but that is how I see it. For the last twenty years, I have created mixed media figures as my art form. Mixed media is a great, no rules approach to art making. It allows me the freedom to use what I have at hand, what I find, what I love. Mostly I love clay and fiber. Each material has its special qualities: forgiving and transforming.

My work has a sense of place and reflects my values. As an urban person, living in the inner city of Minneapolis, I find rusted metal and flatten bottle caps on my walk through my neighborhood. Born and raised here in Minnesota, I have a Midwest sense of practicality and thrift. As a feminist, my figures all begin as female, reflecting the strength and complexity of the feminine. I am reclaiming and transforming the doll tradition, which was such a large part of my girlhood upbringing.

I value a humble and simple life. I value nature and the earth’s resources, so my work incorporates recycled and found materials. I believe in the trasnformative nature of beauty.

My work is healing both for me to make, and as people tell me, for others to see. I show and sell my work at art fairs, primarily in the Midwest. Over and over again, people come into my booth and see my figures hanging on the wall, made of all of those humble and familiar materials, with those little clay faces holding a smile. so the people smile back. When people say to me: “I just love your dolls.” I say to them, “They love you back.” It is another joyous and amazing circle of life.

thoughts on my work and process:

Illuminating our connection to nature, seeing ourselves as being nature, is a ongoing intention in my work. Always figurative, these pieces are made with the earth's elements of clay, sticks, fiber.

This current series, "Messenger/Message" rests somewhere between a prayer and a dance -- with birds as a familiar, yet powerful metaphor. The winged ones, are messengers from the sky/spirit world to us earth bound humans. They remind us to find and cherish that wild and spirited place inside of ourselves.

This series came to me after the death of my dear sister, Janet. Telling me of her death and then later comforting me with continued, intermittent presence -- the cardinal comes with it's insistent call and bright plumage. I realized then, this connection is also not a metaphor. Both are true.

That the figure's head may be growing branches, and the arms or legs are sometimes sticks suggesting limb --reinforces our being part of the natural world. Is this person becoming tree, or tree becoming person?

This work celebrates our fluid, beautiful and complicated relationship of nature -- within us and around us.