I believe the visual arts should move us in the same instinctual, non-verbal ways that music moves us. My coiled and sculptural vessels are experimental explorations of the interactions of color and the melodies and counterpoint of different design elements. Like music, each piece is intended to move and engage at a deep internal place below/beyond language. I believe that grace and beauty have great value. The goal of my work is to create objects that emphasize, that express grace and beauty, and bring a measure of contemplative stillness into our cultural plain to provide a small measure of calm and restfulness. Each of my pieces is created with this belief in mind. The French dramatist, Jean Anouilh once said, “The object of art is to give life a shape.” The question then becomes, “what shape do we want life to take?” I believe that life’s shape should be quiet, peaceful, graceful, and beautiful, grounded in a place away from and beyond the fray allowing us room to rest and strengthen ourselves for our interactions with the larger world. As I design my pieces and quietly create them in my studio, I seek balance within each piece and for myself within the world. I hope as I complete each piece that the quiet stillness I seek permeates the work and takes those emotions, that centering spirit into the world with it to touch and, hopefully, enrich the lives of others.
The design process for my work begins with some inspiration, usually a color, mood or a musical phrase. Working with pastels and colored pencils, I allow the harmonies between colors, the tonal qualities of particular combinations, the melodies and counterpoint of different design elements to interact on the page with as little critical or analytical input as possible. Once I have an intuitive sense of the piece, I begin to think what form the piece should take and the placement of the major design elements within its form.
None of my pieces are fully mapped out; I create several loose sketches which serve as working ‘scores’ for the piece as it evolves and changes during the coiling process which requires 80 to more than 100 hours for the completion of a given piece. Design complexity and shaping requirements increase the amount of time required. Each piece begins the same way, with a small curling coil at the center. Wrapping and stitching as the coil grows, adding short segments of coil to change the shape, curving outward, a maximum of 12 to 15 inches of stitching can be accomplished in one hour.
Working three-dimensionally provides the added challenge of creating a cohesive design that also works well when viewed on a curved surface with only a quarter to at most a half of the design visible at any given moment. The open, wall-mounted forms are also challenging, requiring the constant interplay of forms in the design with the curving, spiraling nature of the coiled surface.