WORK THROUGH THE YEARS
"All Life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -
This section highlights how the pieces have evolved over the past 20 years - from initially experimenting with plaster and commercially made fabrics to the present time working with tile grout and woven linen. Each section provides insight on a specific series, a technique and reasons why the pieces changed over time.
Ebb and Flow Series: Yearning for Stillness Amidst Chaos. Mixed media. 60" x 60". 2020
Contemplating a Way of Being during a Global Pandemic
Currently creating work in the wake of COVID - 19. This new found "Ebb" and static time allows for ideas to simmer. As I contemplate the fragility of life, ponder death and uncertainty, I also feel grateful for passion and creativity.
2018 - 2019
Contemplating Pthalo Blue. Mixed media. 48" x 72". 2018
"A Certain Blue Enters your Soul..."
- Henri Matisse -
The colour blue can be mysterious, tranquil, serene, infinite and even claustrophobic. In Maggie Nelson's "Bluets" she describes her affinity for the colour blue: "Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a colour. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession...it began slowly, an appreciation, an affinity. Then one day, it became more serious. Then it became somehow personal." She continues to describe her affinity for the colour blue "as if falling under a spell." The colour of the infinite sky, the vast oceans, indigo dye or even a hydrangea in springs' full bloom, I love the colour blue. There is no rational explanation for this as my feelings towards the colour blue are purely visceral.
2015 - 2018
Cerulean Blue and Raw Sienna. Mixed media. 48" x 48". 2018
Repetition and The Essence of Hagiyaki
What impresses me about artists’ work in Japan is their dedication to their craft. During this time I thought a lot about my mentors and their teachings. In Japan I fell in love with Hagiyaki – ware where the beautiful pink and white glaze on the ceramic pieces are caused by glazing the pieces over ninety times. Yes, ninety times!! The beauty of Hagiyaki - ware comes from repetition and honing their craft. I began to use more washes creating saturated colour. This piece, Cerulean Blue and Raw Sienna utilizes more then forty washes of colour.
2012 - 2015
Contemplating Silence Series: A Study In Titanium White and Carbon Black. Mixed media. 36" x 36". 2015
The Obsession with Rocks and The Allure of Mica Pigment
Mica is a natural stone that consists of shiny flakes. When ground into a fine powder and mixed with acrylics paints a 'pearlescent' effect is acheived. During these times I experimented with layering mica powder washes and matte washes of acrylic paints to create subtle pearl - like effects. I was also obsessed with going to Rock and Gem Shows purchasing various rocks to build my collection. The series "Contemplating Silence" ponders the questions, What is the colour of happiness? What is the colour of death and what is the colour of silence?
Turquoise. Mixed media. 24" x 60". 2012
Stripes and The Idea of Layered Sediment
I am still fascinated by stripes in nature especially in rocks. "Striped patterns in stones are caused by layers of sediment that have accumulated over time...much of Earth's history is recorded in the many layers of sediment." This layering of sediment is one of the fundamental concepts of geology. In 2012, I experimented with stripes, long and narrow sections of the pieces that differed from the layer underneath. I wanted to expose the woven linen underneath to show the viewer the surface pattern created from weaving within the tile grout.
2008 - 2011
In Search Of Solitude Series. Mixed media. 8" x 8". 2011
Small Studies always lead to Big Outcomes
My weaving professor Ruth Scheuing once told me that experimenting with small scale studies always leads to larger ideas or outcomes. The series "In Search of Solitude" not only explored studies of various rocks, lichen, moss and driftwood colours but also explored feelings towards searching for solitude amidst having three children. In 2009, my third child was born and adapting to small scale work seemed easiest at the time. These studies led to The Eastside Culture Crawl Commission where seven pieces were created as gifts to the donors of The Eastside Culture Crawl in 2011.
2005 - 2008
The Red Rose Bush. Mixed media. 24" x 60". 2008
Hammer and Chisel, Here We Come
During this time, I began experimenting with the negative and positive spaces created with a hammer and chisel exposing the woven linen or under layer below the cracked surface. I began drawing imagery with the hammer and chisel and was inspired by rose bushes, fall leaves, sprawling ivy plants and flowers.
2003 - 2005
Nature Stories Series: Pod #3. Mixed media. 5" x 10". 2005
Learning to Weave in a New Environment and A Two - Dimensional Form
In the summer of 2003, I left Japan to begin The Professional Textile Arts Certificate Program at Capilano College in North Vancouver, British Columbia. During the one year program I discovered dyeing and surface design techniques, tapestry and weaving and applied these techniques to my work. It was here where I discovered weaving with linen. Linen is a stable fabric as the hairy fibers allow the tile grout to adhere properly. In experimenting with linen, I eventually decided to weave my own cloth for more control instead of purchasing or depending on commercially made fabric. I purchased my first loom from a Senior Citizens’ home and experimented with various woven structures. "Nature Stories", an exhibition of sculptural nature pods opened at The Port Moody Arts Center in 2005. I also discovered a passion for hiking and kayaking in British Columbia gaining inspiration from colours and surface patterns found within nature.
Contemplating a Multi - Coloured Grid Series: Ode to The Kimono #1, #2, #3. Mixed media. Each 24" x 24". 2003
A Fascinating Pattern: The Repetitive Grid
The exhibition "Contemplating A Multi - Coloured Grid" opened in Morioka in 2003. Ode to the Kimono, consisted of framed pieces inspired by the colours and patterns of Japanese kimono fabrics. The patterned grid was created deconstructing threads using commercially made fabric by the act of pulling many threads and repeating to create an open structured weave. At this time, I experimented with a finished structure leaving the pieces as floating, swatches of fabric.
My Japanese Flower Garden. Mixed media. Wall Installation. 2003
Wonderful Patterns are Everywhere
After establishing the durability of cracking, I experimented with cracking on patterned commercially made tablecloths. The wall installation, My Japanese Flower Garden: The Twelve Traditional Colours of Japan was created utilizing everyday vinyl flower patterned tablecloths. This installation was part of an exhibition entitled, Made In Japan: Foreign Concepts at the Nihon Bank in Hiroshima. The idea for this piece came from a souvenir someone gave me upon their visit to Kyoto. The souvenir listed the twelve traditional colours of Japan on sheets of origami paper.
In the past, I worked with bright, bold colours which strongly differ from the subdued, neutral traditional Japanese colours. This piece was an attempt to experiment with colours I have never worked with before. I was fascinated by their poetic names, their subtleties and their complicated make-up.
SURFACE Series: Pthalo Blue. Mixed media. 24" x 24". 2002
The Discovery of The Cracked Surface
In 2002, this piece Pthalo Blue was my first 'durable' cracked surface after experimenting many times with the ratio between water, plaster, acrylic paint and climate. This process evolved from experimenting between these ratios of materials layered onto commercial fabric. If the ratio is measured incorrectly, the cracked surface can either be difficult to crack or simply fall apart. Choosing the right kind of fabric is also important. If the plaster does not adhere properly to the fabric it simply has no stability. I learned that the humid weather in Japan was extremely important to the drying process and that tile grout (the same tile grout we use in our bathrooms) was stronger and more durable. Over the years, I have learned to be open to change during the process. Many accidents can occur and I have learned to work with the piece and allow the piece to tell me what is next.
1999 - 2002
SURFACE Series: 100 Pieces for a Wall. Mixed media. Each 8" x 8". 2002
My Experience in Japan: Art Mentorship, Ikebana and Sencha
In the summer of 1999 after graduation, I accepted a job in Northern Japan teaching Kindergarten children English through art activities. I continued to work on small scale work and learned Ikebana - the art of Flower Arranging and Sencha - the Japanese Tea Ceremony. I look back now and I feel that Japan was key in shaping the work that I produce now. In Japan I was fortunate to have three mentors who taught me the importance of finding who you are as an artist. At our monthly visits to their studio spaces and coffee shops they shared many stories and many personal experiences as working artists and I thank them for their guidance. In 2002, my first Solo Exhibition entitled, "Surface: 100 Studies for A Wall" opened at Gallery La Vie in Morioka and was inspired by colours, textures and patterns found in daily Japanese life.
1994 - 1998
White. Mixed media. 36" x 36". 1999
Queen's University, Fine Art Program
During the four year program at Queen's University I was interested in painting and sculpture and was always finding ways to bring both together on a two – dimensional surface. Sometimes I would even use the paint tube to build and experiment with textured surfaces. In my last year of University my work consisted of layered surfaces of plaster, saturated paint and cheesecloth.