by, for & about the moment

One of the more signifigant aspects of the way I work is a process of following the moment. Although the resulting piece or "product" is certainly important, it is being with the raw materials, the discovery of relationship, message or form and feeling for the rightness of where the work wants to go that drive me. I decide among a variety of directions, but I do not censor. There are no mistakes, only opportunities. I recognize the inherent tension between my idea, my ability, and the tolerances of the materials. This tension becomes a sort of three way collaboration between myself, the materials and the moment. On a good day, I surrender to the collaboration and allow the work to unfold, other days my preconceptions prevent me from relating to the materials authentically or intuitively. Either way my intent is to remain awake and watchful of this balance.

Thus art-making becomes way-of-life becomes spiritual practice: the hands, mind and body in direct relation to the physical universe, sensing, allowing and willing the materials in a particular direction, while remaining awake to momentary thoughts, sensations and impulses. Imbuing the work with awareness of that moment while balancing faith and will, surrender and initiation, receptivity and activity.

Within this process I have worked in both 2 and 3 dimensional media: photography, aquatint, watercolor, line drawing, metal fabrication (soldering, brazing, etching, casting), plaster, paper, textile, glass. Most consistently I have worked with ceramic and cloth off and on since early childhood. My first experience with clay was at 5 years old, then again in afterschool classes at 12. I studied art with a ceramics emphasis for two years in college and have worked consistently with clay since 1990- exploring low, medium and high fire techniques as well as raku. As a child I was handy with needle and thread, sewing clothes for my dolls and later the dolls themselves. At 12 I made my first quilt and as a teenager started designing and fabricating my own clothing. As a theater and celebration artist I have designed and constructed costumes for actors, stiltwalkers and giant puppets. In the last few years I have become interested in quilting as a process of layering history, working with "found" cloth and incorporating color transfer process and other materials.

Found media, collage and assemblage are integral to my work. I love the inherent history of objects. My house and studio are in themselves installation pieces. The various collections of objects are arranged in intentional chaos telling their own story and waiting to be quilted into new associations. Scissors, wooden spools, oil cans, bottles and corroded tins, locks and keys, rusty objects of undisclosed identity, camera parts, hinges, rakes, obscure kitchen utensils, dominos, dice, weathered cloth and a myriad other bits and pieces.

Like the materials, the themes of my work are varied. Recurring themes are history, family lineage and lost ancestry, the body, wounding and healing, love and spirit, justice and injustice and the natural world--all informed by a sense of social consciousness and political responsibility. As a "public" puppeteer (founder and director of the well known west coast giant puppet theatre, Wise Fool Puppet Intervention). much of my personal visual art work retains a sense of this folk art. Dangerous dolls and whimsical creatures spring forth that seem to speak to the different energies and inclinations of my audience. Since I don't censor or control what comes out of me I often make things that I myself don't understand and am baffled when an audience member falls in love with one of my creations and insists on taking it home.

I have shown and sold my work sporadically, in constant dialogue with myself about the questionability of bringing more objects into a world glutted with objects as well as my feeling that it is inherently wrong to put a price tag on art, believing that it belongs, ultimately to a "gift economy." In spite of this, my work seems to leave me these regularly days. It is sold for love at prices unequal to their worth in terms of hours, materials, craftsmanship or spiritual intent invested. For the most part I have reconciled with the “selling” of my artwork, understanding that my works must leave me and this is one clear, clean way to release them.

Overall my process as an artist mirrors my process in life. Asking the big questions and in a constant state of self-reflection, I bring myself back into the moment and attempt to deal with what is directly in front of me with equity and love. For me, life and art--good life and good art--are about being present and awake to the moment, whether that moment is painful or ecstatic, and responding with honesty and authenticity. This process brings this moment into the next moment, into the next moment, and ultimately into the cycle of time: life, death, rebirth and all that is dear and sacred.