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Artist Statement

I start with a blank canvas; a bolt of muslin, fabric dyes, and the primary colors in silkscreen paints. When I mix, I draw my palette from the seasons or my travels and each new texture is something tactile found in my environment. I gather images and objects everywhere, anything that catches my eye outdoors or in the studio becomes an artist's tool: pine cones, spoons, brushes, homemade stamps, and bamboo pens. I apply paint with abandon, exhausting the cups of paint, trying every combination. Each piece of fabric is a new exploration of color, form, and texture. They are paintings in themselves and when I bring them together on a giant white wall in my studio space each piece becomes a landmark or road in the map of the idea I am translating. When I am satisfied by my image from every position in the studio; from the fireplace step, from the window near the portrait of Gregor made by my daughter, from just over the TV playing the latest BBC Jane Austen miniseries, from the estate sale loveseat where I sit with my husband who wants to add one more little snip of red- just there, when I am satisfied, I begin to make it permanent. I layer each piece with batting and backing before stitching. The criss-crossing lines add to the structure and the layers build themselves until the map recites the colors, textures, shapes, and impressions of my life.

Artist Bio

Born in Heidelberg, Germany

I was raised in Sylvania, Ohio. The oldest of four girls, I was the first to glean my mother's sense of creativity, though the others quickly followed. The sound of the sewing machine saturated the house and I would watch my mother, out of the corner of my eye, while she fashioned new clothes for us. I would sit near her table coloring from the large box of crayons, or cutting paper into the shapes of the perfect outfits I was hoping for.

Later at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I turned my energy towards books. There I made books and poured hand-made paper, developing a love for typography which I took back with me to Sylvania years later in the form of a Vandercook letterpress and tons of metal type. From making small editions of personal books I turned to sharing them in a larger sense and in 1981, I opened The Reading Railroad: A Children's Bookshop with the help of my husband Peter, our one-year-old son Sam, and my parents. Being everyday surrounded by books, color, and a family life that grew to include two daughters, my creative drive was kept fully intact. When I was ready to create my own work again it was no surprise that I went back to the most comfortable medium I knew, textiles and fabric.

Artist Photo