"Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?" Paul Gauguin
For the past few years, my work in textiles, handmade paper, and book arts has explored dysfunctional family relationships and the transition through or survival of those relationships, as well as the cause and affect of events occurring in one generation reverberating through future generations. Having been an illustrator and an avid gardener for many years, I have always been drawn to aerial views of land, maps, rivers, soil, and organic systems. In my latest work, I began to explore ways to map interpersonal relationships, by engaging materials gathered from my garden, my favorite beaches in Cornwall, England, and local Illinois farms. By employing stones, stumps, and other organic objects as indexes for real people, to draw relational systems on handmade paper when it was freshly pulled or poured from the vat, the dried paper retained the ghost or trace of the organic objects that left indelible imprints, or seemed to capture the moment when some organic being erupted from the paper and escaped.
In 2004, I received the top award in the Fibers Division of the First Annual Illinois Collegiate Artists Competition for my handmade paper, fiber and wooden sculpture Nesting. Sponsored by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Board of Higher Education, this juried competition featured a total of 624 works of art from 260 students across Illinois.
In 2004, I also received an undergraduate fellowship to research Handmade Paper from the Crops of Madison County, a 10-month, in-depth study of papermaking, producing a limited edition of six cased-sets of thirteen hand-bound books of my research, which included paper samples. Eighteen students were selected as Undergraduate Research Academy Scholars in 2004.(SIUE Undergraduate Research Academy www.siue.edu/ura.html) In June of 2005, I presented one of the six cased-sets of my research to Dr. Jo Readman, Educational Director of Eden Project, the internationally acclaimed, largest and newest educational biome conservatories in the world. Two additional cased-sets will be presented to The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO and to The Paper Discovery Center in Appleton, WI in the Spring of 2006.
Deep Roots, Flowers Grow