Standing On Fertile Ground
As an artist and human being, I am enchanted by the stories embedded in earth, water, tree, leaf, root, and stone. I am also fascinated by the larger story of the complex systems and processes giving rise to the phenomenal world. Through my art work, I explore the many recurring patterns and forces in nature, their interactions and manifestations. Whether working “soft” (true to material) or “hard” (with other media), the stitched and felted composite cloth provides a means by which I can begin to evoke the sacred universality I encounter in the natural world.
On Essential Elements: Trained as a landscape architect, my acts of design have always been about “surfaces.” In the past, earth, plants, brick, and stone were my materials; now cloth, fiber and colorants. An unintentional bridge has formed between my past sensibilities and present creative expression via “nuno” (what I call “laminated”) felting. Through this technique, the play of fused and embedded materials – drawn up, blistered, buckled, cut and undulating – render visions of the alien and the familiar . . . and they all invariably contain some reference to landscape, from the vast and distant land forms view from high above the earth’s skin (natural and human-made), to the mossy or lichenous “terrain” of a rock or tree trunk. These new forms continue to invite further “excavation” and exploration.
On Some Other Important Influences: Creating connection and stability through my work and relationships is fundamental. I moved around a lot as a child and that had an impact on a lot of levels. While I have lived many places, three stand out as major influences. If I may use a plant metaphor: my roots are in both Hawaii and the Puget Sound area, my crown is in Georgia, and my heart is in all three. Marine environments and forests are the substrate, expressive movement and eastern philosophy, the connective tissue; and long-evolving, valued friendships with amazing artists and craftspeople, my nourishment. I begin to see that “net”-works and their re-forging, along with shelter and terrain (both interior and exterior), are emerging themes in my work (even in the choice of surface pattern in the more functional pieces). The dance continues….
On Process: My “gateway” textile techniques were weaving and surface design (specifically including dyeing, printing and resist techniques). All of these streams still persist in my process and work today and I could not accurately describe my work as a textile artist and designer without including these facets. I am a keen student of dye-alchemy and continue to study and work with a variety of dye classes which greatly expand my palette choices for a range of media. While my current/primary structural oeuvre is laminated (“nuno”) felting, developing surfaces on cloth via resist and print techniques provides a lovely counterpoint to that work. My process would not be complete without sketching and drawing, which help mediate between the left and right brains in the creation of a piece of work.