My art, a lifelong pursuit, has always been grounded in the natural world. I came to Alaska in 1964 and lived 50+ years just outside Denali Park. My husband and the community shared and encouraged my ever-growing interest, understanding and expression of the natural world.
Changing vision and increasing proficiency have been my artistic cornerstone. For 30 years, I was a printmaker, weaver, spinner, and graphic designer. When I started making art quilts in 1992, it combined a lifetime of sewing with fine art. It allowed me to express myself in a way not possible with other media.
Fabric, with its’ incredible variety of color and visual texture, has always fascinated me. As my focus grew, a need for a more personal pallet of fabrics encouraged me to learn fabric dying techniques. After years of classes and studio time, I now use Procion MX dyes or fabric paint and apply it to white cotton fabric using silk-screen, deconstructed silk-screen, stencil, stamp and hand painting processes. I have recently digitized particularly successful dyed pieces, worked with them in Photoshop and had them custom printed to create new fabrics that I have found very useful.
My goal is not to achieve an exact representation of a specific place but to capture it’s feeling and energy. As a piece is developed, elevation, ground cover, season of year, and species of plants and animals is often considered. Accurate representation and interpretation of that particular place is achieved using both printed and quilted images.
For the past decade, collaboration has informed much of my work. There are two areas in which I have been particularly challenged. I was selected to be part of an ongoing program, In Time of Change (ITOC), which offers opportunities for artists to work with scientists in selected fields for a year. I was challenged to convey, through my art, the knowledge and deep understanding gained from working directly with scientists, learning about their research. The images and fabrics I created for these pieces were specific to the subject matter. If you are interested, go to this LINK which describes the most recent area studied, ITOC Microbial Worlds.
Secondly, as a member of Elements Artist Group, I responded to original music composed in Denali National Park by the Composers in the Wilderness program. I have very little background in music and was initially terrified because I had no idea how to approach this challenge. I listened to the three pieces I responded to over and over and over. The composers shared where they were in the park, and what they were thinking. Because I am so familiar with the park, I used images that felt appropriate to describe the music I was hearing. I created new fabrics for these pieces as well. If you are interested in this collaboration, click HERE.
Several years ago, I prepared a power point presentation describing my lifetime of work. This program made it abundantly clear to me how my work changes, irrespective of media used, each time I learn a new technique or gain some new information about the natural world. It is what energizes me, and keeps me enthusiastically tackling new ways of expressing myself.