The large scale installation, originally called Offering, consists of a pile of crocheted stones that mimic the offerings we leave for religious deities, for the dead and for marking our way home.
On May 1, 2012, a drunk driver killed Melissa Mary (Mel) Benner instantly. She was 39 years old. She was not married. She did not have children. She had very few material possessions, in keeping with Buddhist tradition. But she did have a life. In her absence, Ms. Haims has been compelled to not only prove but to celebrate her existence. They had been the best of friends for 26 years. They met on the first day of high school.
Offering is her attempt at this proof. During the year after Ms. Benner’s death, Ms. Haims visited the places she lived and worked. She has walked through fields in her footsteps and found the air she breathed. She documented this journey with photographs and with a book of prose. Beginning on May 1, 2013, Ms. Haims opened the show at 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia and was on site, 5 days per week crocheting new rocks to add to the pile that she has been working on since developing the show concept in August 2012 after her own epic, boundary crushing, spiritual journey.
Currently, Offering is only a fraction of the size it once was due to the overwhelming response to the work. People want to live with these pieces to remember their lost. Ms. Haims will continue to create these stones to keep Ms. Benner’s spirit alive.