Deeply rooted in the Midwest, my world is rolling hills, woodlands, creeks, and fields where beauty is found within arm’s reach. My inspiration comes from the rich tones, textures and forms of the natural world. Although I admire and appreciate the garden in its entirety, I treasure the seedpod and pebble found on the path. In the same way, I enjoy creating sculptural forms, but find the tactile surface of highly textured handmade paper most gratifying.
My earliest artwork using handmade paper explored textured papers and their edges, investigating with the way light and shadow identifies the raised and indented surface. Nearly three decades later, I am still creating surfaces which allow light to dance over impressed textures creating highlights and shadows. A subtle shift in my thinking from “sculptural basketry” to “sculptural forms with openings” opened new opportunities, as the forms were no longer “required” to have an opening at the top or to stand up straight.
The first time my hands plunged into a vat of cloud-like pulp I encountered my artistic epiphany and fell in love with papermaking. Instead of embracing the smooth perfect surface, I relished the deckled edge and unintended wrinkle or pucker. Soon, purposeful irregularities filled the surface. A desire to present this highly textured handmade paper in three dimensions led to an exploration of basketry techniques. Twined reed provided a structural “skeleton” and my handmade papers became the “skin.”
Black denim half stuff is my fiber of choice. The short cotton fibers receive and hold impressions of objects such as buttons, lace, zippers, garters, grids, keys, paperclips, bubble wrap, etc. A palette of objects is selected from my collection to impress textures into freshly made, wet sheets of paper resulting in many sheets with a similar feel and look. These sheets of paper are a fossil record of mundane aspects of contemporary culture. This stash of highly textured black paper provides inspiration and materials for future pieces.
When the basket’s skeleton is ready for its skin, my creative process evolves intuitively. I mine my paper stash to find interesting patterns, tearing out areas that juxtapose distinctive positive and negative spaces. For instance, an embossed zipper next to a star button may be mated with other zipper/button combinations. Torn textured papers are arranged and rearranged to create a composition that compliments the woven armature. Finally, the paper is attached to the form and sealed. Multiple layers of paint complete the paper-covered vessel.
Developing ideas that come from a previous piece, I work in a series exploring questions that arise from the path not taken. Each new piece has its roots in the work that came before. At times, there seems to be a linear progression and at other times the connections are conceptual or technical. Most important, I invite the viewer to become engaged with the form, yearn to caress its surface and begin a conversation.