Waxed Linen Forms
My day is punctuated by tea breaks. It helps me to slow down and reflect on the work of my day and life. As I brew a cup of tea, I love watching the water steam to a boil and the loose leaves infuse golden color into the cup. I’ve been curious about and studied the various cultural traditions surrounding tea making, drinking and ceremony. It only makes sense that I would eventually have to create a few of my own teapots.
People sometimes ask me, “Can you can really make tea in these pots?” My teapots do feel sturdy enough to think that they might hold water, but, no, they won’t actually brew a cup of tea. They can, however, invite you to a tea break of your own, or invoke your memories of tea.
Before I had my own family, I really thought that children could be molded through the education and experiences that they are provided. Then I gave birth to boy/girl twins and my education began.
I steered clear of stereotypical pink and blue, provided them each with a doll and a truck, and read them books with titles like, “You Can Be Anything.” Then, along came my third child, and quickly I realized that he was certainly not like either of the first two.
As I got to know each child, I watched a unique personality unfold. While I could nurture them and give them each enriching experiences, they brought their own way of seeing and responding into my life.
Thankfully, my children have survived my parenting and are now independent, capable adults. As parents, we think that it is our role to teach our children, but I’ve learned that their job is really to teach us.
SEASONS OF HENNEPIN COUNTY
When I lived in Minnesota, my studio space was located at the back of my home on a hillside between two lakes. Just outside the window were the treetops of a maple forest. For the almost 20 years that I lived there, I observed the changes in that forest and came to know, anticipate and appreciate the beauty that it brought to my daily life.
These four small but meticulously crafted “baskets” were created over the course of a year, each completed piece sitting on the shelf in wait of the rest till the seasons were complete. They are made using waxed linen in the centuries old basketry technique of twining.
Two Pots of Tea: Earth and Sea
My piece, titled “Two Pots of Tea: Earth and Sea” allowed me to stretch the limits of traditional basketry twining technique to create fanciful examples of form and texture. The pots appear as opposites, yet animated in a dance together.
The teapots remind me of traditional Japanese cast iron artistry, but with a new story to tell. Where will the water come from and how will the water taste that flows from these teapots?
Language of the Heart
Art is its own language. The viewer individually interacts with a piece of art, and feelings of joy or sadness or despair or anger can be summoned.
This piece, Language of the Heart, forces the viewer to puzzle out the meanings of each twined three-dimensional heart. Burning, bleeding, gold, purple and broken can all be a part of a single life.
I was exploring the use of color and color “blending” using my waxed linen during the time that our country was learning about diversity in what a family looks like through the Marriage Equality movement. We are never too old to learn something new. We voted. And, I was inspired to create this piece, titled Family Spectrum. There are a lot of ways to make a supportive family.
Oak, Birch, Pine
Waiting For Spring
Saving Our National Parks
Visits to our National Parks motivated me to create a series of art pieces that express my appreciation for these protected wild places and to encourage their preservation. I am concerned that my children’s children may not have the same opportunities to experience solitude, hike, photograph, and be inspired by the natural world. Will we drill, mine, clearcut, allow snowmobiles, and build Starbucks throughout these unique landscapes?
As a student of Anthropology and Native American Basketry, I am deeply moved by the power of handmade cultural objects. They can represent the beliefs, values, aesthetics, and needs of a culture in a place and time. For me, basket making is a tactile experience that represents the real time commitment of craftsmanship, and, in its meditative, repetitive motion can return me to memories of my time visiting our National Parks.
One a Day
A few years back I visited well known Minnesota potter and University of Minnesota professor, Warren MacKenzie. He talked about how, during his production period, he would attempt to produce as many as 100 pots a day! I was inspired. How many of my waxed linen baskets could I produce in a day?
I gave it a try and found out that I could make about one small (approximately 2”x2”) basket in an 8 hour day. I began to produce these mini baskets and managed to keep it up about 6 of 7 days before my hands gave out and needed a rest.
When I had about 30 different baskets (I never make the same thing twice!), they together became one work of art that I exhibited as a piece titled “One A Day.” I’m still working on trying to make a total of 100 of these small baskets!
Sitting on Her Shoulders, “Ode to Mary Giles”
For many years I followed and was inspired by the work of fiber artist, Mary Giles. I read about her work in fine craft magazines and saw it in museum collections. She lived not far from me when I lived in Minnesota and I got to visit her home on a special studio tour with the Textile Center in Minneapolis.
In early 2018, Mary died of ovarian cancer. She truly made an impact in the world of fiber art. I was inspired to weave a basket in her memory and titled it “Ode to Mary Giles, Sitting on Her Shoulders.” The piece includes my own version of her iconic male wire stick figures that sit on the rim of the basket. You will notice that one stands out from the rest.