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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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LaKeisha Wolf

How Deep Is Your Love

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Materials: L. Wolf original photo print, Altar Items: L. Wolf original glass hands, sage bundle, L. Wolf original copper wire wrapped citrine stone on copper chain, rubies, lavender in glass, ostrich feather, rutilated quartz, smoky quartz, rose quartz, sodalite on pink Himalayan salt crystals, prayer candles, tourmaline, Altar Floor: L. Wolf original green ginkgo leaf glass tray filled with peppermint leaf, citrine stones on wood slice, quartz crystals on natural sea salt in glass, cinnamon sticks in glass, karate nuts (shea butter nuts) in L. Wolf original resin green flower bowl, cowrie shells on L.Wolf original green shell shaped resin tray, Himalayan salt chunks, L. Wolf original “We’re Living in a World of Fools Breaking Us Down” sandblasted on glass mirror, Window Hangings: Fire- birch wood, fire agate, carnelian, copper wire/Water- birch wood, opal, aquamarine, shells, aluminum wire/Air- birch wood, labradorite, kyanite, ostrich feather, steel wire, suede cord, Medicine Wheel: quartz crystal orb, soil, sapphires, bergamot flower petals, anise stars, peppermint, red clover, cinnamon sticks, roses, black beans, chamomile, river rocks, sage, bay leaf, lavender, thyme, soil, Kenyan soapstone, Left & Right Floor: River rocks, soil, birch logs, amethyst, fluorite, rose quartz, citine, clear quartz, wood slices, sharpie markers, L. Wolf original fallen ginkgo leaves glass relief, L.Wolf original green resin bowl sprinkled with malachite and lapis lazuli stone chips, L.Wolf original resin sun embedded with dried flowers/leaves, Kenyan gourds, chamomile, sage, Ugandan raffia coil baskets, herbs, petrified wood, Ghanaian-made wood stools embellished with sharpie marker pictographs, Kenyan made recycled metal and cow horn warrior sculpture with bowl and warrior with plant stand embellished with cotton string, copper wire, red coral, chalk green turquoise, bone bead, gye’nyame symbol etched bone, resin, artificial plant, cotton string, pink Himalayan salt chunks

The How Deep Is Your Love installation is a physical representation of the love reflected back to me from Mother Earth on my journey as a Black woman- through gemstones, crystals, and other natural elements, and the connection to All That Is, known to most as God or the Universe. Thinking about the spiritual deprivation of living in a Eurocentric paradigm that separates humans from nature, disconnects women from their bodies and original people from their culture, is in part the impetus for this work.

Gemstone crystals are divine extensions of Mother Earth. They can assist all of us in balancing and healing ourselves, as well as the Earth. For people of African descent who are plagued with dis-ease for a number of reasons, all stemming from subjugation to an “unnatural environment,” knowledge of crystals is important to have. In addition, the understanding of herbs and plants and core truths found in indigenous knowledge like the medicine wheel, as well as African reflections of land and sky translated through symbolic language, has been key for myself, and many of us, in reclaiming, balancing and reacclimating our true identity into the self. Understanding ourselves from the perspective of children of God or creators or even as self-determining individuals and communities in a larger context demands that we take the concepts out of the abstract and begin to truly see and consciously experience our connection with life and all that exists.

The lyrics to the song, “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees, re-recorded and amplified recently by music artist PJ Morton, is a love tune sung in the mirror to myself. It became my self-love anthem as I recounted the ways I have struggled in this life, and the universal truths that came into my spirit to ground me. The spiritual growth has truly been immeasurable. Walking into the installation, the cotton lines strung from floor to ceiling are symbolic for that spiritual growth, and are throughout the space like the rutile mineral striations (titanium oxide) that can grow inside of gemstones like quartz and sapphire. Rutilated quartz crystals emit a clarifying radiance that lifts the spirit and supplies you with a daily dose of spiritual nutrition. By reflecting light that contains all the colors in the spectrum, rutilated quartz symbolizes unity and transformation, the side effects of an elevated consciousness that links you with the heavens. Reflections of myself in photograph and excerpts of my poetry on the wall are indicative of the physical aspect of our basic humanness, and all other elements are reminders that we are made of the same stuff as the sun, moon and stars…a cue to being the culmination of all of our ancestors- we are present here in this body, and are also ancient and future simultaneously. We are moved and changed by crystal rocks, and we each also embody a crystalline structure internally that can move and change our environment for the better if we attune ourselves.

It’s necessary to be reminded of how deep our connection is with this Earth and environment, as it truly represents a mother who provides all you need to grow, learn, and maximize your life-force purposefully.

Artist Statement

It took me a long time to consider myself an artist because I was bamboozled early on in life to think that creativity had to look a certain way. I learned through experience that creativity is one’s ability to transcend or change matter, and found that I could do that. My creative practice is rooted in my purpose as a healer. To be in constant practice of serving the need to mend the circle, of bringing acknowledgement to the disconnection(s) from self and nature, and to gently encourage the utilization of nature and Earth’s gifts to heal and mend the fracture. To remember that we are each a part of the whole of All That Is (Creator/Creation).

I am multi-disciplinary in my practice: using poems and movement for sound and energy expression, earth ingredients combined into salves and medicinal balms for natural personal care of the body, gemstones and elements for adornment and talisman wearing that gently shifts and transmutes energetic bodies. As a cultural worker, I share libation and other Africana/indigenous-inspired rituals, as well as facilitate Sankofa transformative conversations in collective space for redirecting the flow of energy towards personal and collective healing. I respect, honor and work with my elders. And as a teaching artist with all generations, my goal is to always inspire joy and justice through making self-reflective art and craft. I recognize that all things first happen in spirit and become manifested in the physical through thought, word and deed. My practice is about walking the line and weaving between the broken pieces.




1414 Monterey, 2nd Floor

About The Artist

LaKeisha Wolf is a self-taught artisan, whose insightful skills were honed in the embrace of the Africana cultural community in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the founder of a micro-enterprise centered on making and wellness. This multidisciplinary creator has grown her competency working to uplift and center her own healing, as well as that of Black women and the broader Black community, using nature, arts and culture. Beading and wire-wrapping gemstone jewelry is what initiated her artistic practice, which includes making in a variety of forms, all of which are anchored by a desire to reflect the highest forms of self love. LaKeisha leads through the lens of creativity, shared cultural values and community, working with artists and organizers to develop place-making strategies, models of equity for community resources, as well as local and global partnerships rooted in the values of fair trade entrepreneurship and cooperation. Wolf’s resources are purpose-centered relationships, stones and natural elements, symbols and affirmations.


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