I am a multi-material artist whose interest lies in finding materials around me and repurposing them into beautiful and functional one-of-a-kind works of art.
I was nine years old when I first began playing with beads. My early love of color, and fashioning something beautiful by combining small parts in ways only my mind can dictate, has remained a creative staple of my life. Beadwork continues to allow me the satisfying exploration of form, color, line and flow.
These days I am influenced by natural surroundings — the ocean, beach, rocks, deserts, forests — as well as urban ones. My work is also pulled by pleasant memories, heirloom jewelry, and all things playful and pretty.
Two directives guide my interest in batik:
- Repurpose that which still has life!
- Put color back into objects — and thus into people’s lives!
I love combining these passions. I get to scour used clothing stores, sweeping up those “Hawaiian shirts” I suspect were purchased on a whim and discarded years later. They have faded from age, not overuse. I get to make them playful and fun once again.
The process includes the pleasant smell of melting beeswax and the immense color satisfaction produced by Procion MX fiber reactive dyes. This is the most vivid of all dyes for cellulose fibers and I use it on cotton, linen, jute, ramie, sisal and rayon. I often layer colors on my batiks, add stencil designs, airbrush the pieces, and sometimes add a touch of gyotaku — printing fabric with real fish.
I use a wide variety of tools: rolled cardboard, mechanical parts, gears, wood cutouts, 5-6 potato mashers, plant stem bundles, etc. I’m always on the lookout for objects that can make interesting patterns and intriguing lines. Each shirt reflects my playful encounter with color and the world around me.
The lure of basket making struck me early in life. As a child I made my first baskets out of the long, wide leaves of cattails, fastening their ends with masking tape. To what can I attribute my early and intense desire to make baskets? Maybe it was the recurring pictures in National Geographic: women in far away lands walking to market with baskets on their heads. Or the knowledge that women have been weaving baskets for centuries — making beautiful and functional objects from everyday plant materials.
Like them, I use natural materials at hand — reeds and kelp — but I’ve branched out. I also work with leather, wire, pasta, yarn and plastic. I weave, sew and plait my baskets. I’ve taken advantage of living in Alaska by studying a variety of native methods: Nelson Island style, Hooper Bay style and Attu style.
Perhaps my favorite basket material is kelp, found on the beaches of Homer and Anchor Point, Alaska. Collecting this material gives me an excuse to travel outdoors. I’ve been gathering these long, slimey pieces since the 1990′s and I worry about their availability in the future. I’ve noticed distinct and changing patterns of where they land over the past two decades. Slippery kelp provides a huge challenge to the weaver but it’s that one I, and those I’ve taught, hope to face for many more years.
by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone: (907) 338-5744