A child of an artist and part of a family of artists, I grew up with colors, textures, and techniques of others. Not content to be a follower, I began a journey to find my own medium and express my own response to the world. My art form evolved as I searched for my own artistic process and my own medium.
In seeking a medium unique to me, I found the best of all worlds in paper. Here was a sculptural medium that could satisfy my tactile nature! I learned how to make paper but soon realized that what I wanted to do was create work with the paper. Consequently, I decided to let others make the paper; I would look for as many different colors and textures of paper as I could.
I traveled and gathered papers from all over the world, from such places as Thailand, Japan, Nepal, Tibet, Mexico, and Egypt. During my travels, I learned that papermaking processes differ throughout the world. Not just each town but each family has its unique way of making paper, a process handed down from generation to generation.
Paper, highly respected in other cultures as a thing of beauty but in this country thought of as a surface on which to put artwork, is an amazing material; its sculptural qualities offer limitless possibilities for color and for a story that will add depth to the meaning of every piece I create. People who have an opportunity to see my art often express surprise, having never before seen work like mine.
For each artwork, I rip, cut, and layer the papers I’ve gathered, their dimensional qualities emerging as I work. I then glue the papers to stretched canvases to create uniquely textured scenes, such as a clothesline outside a window. Sometimes, I apply paint or acrylic sealants on top of the papers to accent textures or achieve greater color variation, and to protect the paper or make the work archival. I finish every piece with several layers of varnish.
In every sense, it is the paper, with its own color and texture and painterly quality, that becomes my art.
How the St. Michael’s Exhibition Came To Be
One of the members of this parish, Maureen Doallas, who currently leads the church’s Arts & Faith Ministry, saw my work on a Great Falls Studios Tour and, later, at Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland. Afterwards, Maureen reached out to ask about having a show at St. Michael’s. Some time later in 2019, after discussing the idea with Reverend Beth Franklin, Maureen, Beth, and I sat down and had a conversation about what a show would be about. Ultimately, we arrived at the idea of women at work, a theme that has long interested me. My aim, I explained, would be to honor the day-to-day jobs, some domestic and some not, that women do.
What I hope I have captured and celebrate in the exhibition are some of the less appreciated jobs that women do, such as washing clothes, ironing or hanging laundry, carrying water to a village, or caring for a baby. Others I wanted to include are some of the many jobs that women do outside the home, such as teaching a classroom full of children, planting crops, doing handicrafts, or pursuing an art form such as dance or music.
Originally scheduled for spring 2020, “Women at Work” had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic that shuttered the world for more than a year. I am grateful to the Arts & Faith Ministry for selecting my work to comprise the first back-on-the-walls exhibit in the Parish Hall in September 2021.
Every artwork in “Women at Work” is an original and one-of-a-kind.