Social commentary via textile art
When I first entered the art world, I made jewelry---stringing beads and objects into interesting wearable art pieces, and through that I discovered my love of beads, especially beads and ornaments from other cultures. At some point, I opened a bead store that offered far more than just beads: it was a special and respectful place full of beautiful items from around the world…including textiles. Another love discovered! I began learning about and playing around with silks and dyes and I have never looked back.
Although I don’t do much dyeing and silk painting these days, as a contemporary mixed media artist I create both two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces suitable for the body, wall or table, and fiber in all its many forms is often an integral part of my art. To me, fiber is a very basic material that can be morphed in endless ways…perfect for fine art. I appreciate its ability to be flexible both in application and appearance, implying or creating movement in one piece, yet being strong and robust in another piece. I find its chameleon-like qualities well suited to my work and my creative mind.
Another part of my work is the utilization of ‘stuff’. Items that have been thrown away, tossed in the bin or that I find in the street can find new purpose in art. Working with leftovers and scraps feels very rewarding to me: it is a challenge and inspiring to make something interesting from a little bit of detritus. Whether it is a banged up mannequin, twisted metal, a fan part, old books/papers, used tea bags etc., it is a treasure trove for a mixed media artist and I find it very satisfying and often fun to reincarnate the parts and pieces. My studio is full of odd bits waiting for just the right time and the right project to surface; it is always an adventure, and makes it hard to throw anything away (not always a good thing).
Thematically, my work is my visual response to the world around me: the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the noisy, and the silent. It is often political in nature or contains a social comment of some sort; it can also be silly. Whether I am happy, perplexed, frustrated, angered or enchanted by something I see or experience, it will eventually find its way into my art. For me, art is all about communication at its most pure, whether through dance, music, the written/spoken word or the visual arts. I am very invested and present in my art and my hope is that my work communicates and elicits a response from the viewer.
I maintain a working studio in Sacramento, California, USA, teach classes and do a bit of mentoring of other artists…with the realization that we all learn from one another and that is what communication is supposed to be about.