My work is about meaning. Sometimes it’s about covering up the meaning so that it can’t be read or understood by others and sometimes it’s about being straight forward and presenting things as I see them. My goal is to make a connection when I can, maybe a spark of recognition in the viewer, an “I feel that way, too” moment. But other times, I want to express a feeling or idea or tell a story that only I know. Like writing a novel in the space of one letter or writing out my whole life story in pencil and then erasing it. The act of obscuring meaning is like forgetting. There are so many experiences in our lives that we are aware of when they happen but they become lost after time, forgotten, covered up, and obscured by time and other experiences. However, these things that happen to us are the experiences that add up to make us the person we are. Take away those forgotten memories and we become a different person. The things we do remember are recorded in some other way so that they stay with us somehow, but even those memories change over time. Every time you open the box, take it out and look at it, it is changed forever. My work is an attempt to capture that experience, give it meaning, and share it when I want to and obscure it when I need to.
I love working with materials and techniques that are traditionally associated with crafts or “women’s work;” cloth, embroidery floss, constructing objects with a home sewing machine, or creating images with hand embroidery. The messages and images that I stitch into cloth are personal and usually inspired by something that happened in my life like experiencing the loss of my grandmother and then my mother just two weeks later. One death expected, the other not. While my work is deeply personal, I also believe that these emotional experiences are universal. My work speaks to that universality. I have felt this loss, this joy, this gratitude, and I bet you have, too.
I want the objects that I create to have a rich surface and show evidence of hands at work. I use old dishcloths in much of my work. These cloths are from my own kitchen, stained and worn by my husband and me cooking many meals together. To me, this infuses the cloth with a deeply compelling emotional context as well as creating a visually compelling ground on which to stitch my messages and images.
Intuition informs my process. I try not to think too far ahead and always keep just the next thing in mind. The next thing is usually clear. Anything beyond that is not. When the next thing is done, the thing after that is revealed and on it goes.