When I was very young, my mother would take four or five of those wooden kid puzzles and spill them on the carpet in front of me, all jumbled together. I would patiently sort through the pieces until patterns emerged and separated into distinct scenes. Slowly, under my small busy little hands, the puzzles were solved.
This is the same strategy I use today in my mixed media textiles. I construct abstract art from a cornucopia of pieces: found fabric, papers from various sources, paint, inks, stains, stitching, and natural materials. Moving pieces around, turning them, adding color and thread: the composition begins to take form. Then there is more stitching, painting and cutting and reassembling. And so it goes until a new puzzle is solved.
My studio is a cross between an art studio and a woodshop. I experiment with tools, materials and ideas. It can be risky, with hours of effort sometimes ending up in the ugly bin. But I don’t look on it as a waste. It teaches me what not to do the next time, and it teaches me that staying open and vulnerable is key to creating anything of value.
My art explores the puzzle pieces that are our lives, moving around, shape shifting, turning until we’re in the place we want to be.
Here it is in the words of the old Shaker song,
'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free,
'Tis a gift to come down, where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.