Sometimes an accident is an artist’s best friend, a muse, an inspiration.
When I was just beginning to learn ceramics, I made a terrible vase. The form was clunky. The glaze was so thick that when it was fired it stuck to the kiln shelf. It was not a piece to be proud of, or to display. But on one small square inch of the piece, there was a beautiful area of glaze. When I squinted my eyes and looked closely, I realized that this small space was a world unto itself. I placed the vase out in the natural light, and snow fell on it and melted. I photographed it, and a whole new process of image making began for me.
I take close-up photographs of surfaces that I find interesting. These surfaces include ceramic glazes, stone, seashells, and rusty pipes. I then enlarge the images to create abstract images. In my most recent work, I use a giclée process to print the images on a matte fiber paper. I then draw and paint on the surface, creating landscapes on top of the photographs. A small area is transformed into a new world. Sometimes these worlds are beautiful, sometimes they are ruins, sometimes they are vacant, sometimes they are full of people and animals. The finished Mixed Media artworks can be viewed from a distance, as abstract works, and up close, as detailed universes. Ever since I made that one awful vase, I have been looking at objects differently, searching for small areas of intrigue, finding beauty in little accidents and unexpected surfaces. Also, I spend a lot of time squinting.