Edna Smogard grew up in North Dakota and, after her marriage to Thomas Smogard, lived in the small city of Huron, South Dakota. During the 1940s and early 1950s she kept a journal of all her household expenditures and receipts. This record found its way into the $1 corner of an antiques outlet in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and from there into my hands. In her penciled entries is the evidence of daily life: income from the harvest of a field of corn; money paid to a neighbor to make a blue dress; purchase of War Bonds; tax payments. The cloth book covers are water-stained, and the paper has the brittleness of age, but most of the entries are as clear as the day that Edna made them. I am drawn to the care and consistency with which she created her record through the years.
Collage is an ongoing process of deconstructing and reconstructing. Edna’s Accounts is a series of collages built on the foundation of pages from Edna Smogard’s journal. The collages are the same size as the journal pages, and I think of them as pages of a deconstructed and re-imagined book.