My “Illumination” series is a body of work exploring the incorporation of light in stylized representations of natural objects made of both soft and hard materials. I was sitting in the garden in the early morning light, enchanted by the glow of the backlit plants. The idea to illuminate natural forms was born.
Felted wool roving as a skin around a galvanized steel structure reminds me of the micro structures of everything around us. When illuminated, the square or honeycomb “cellular-like” structure is evident. These visible internal skeletons prompt me to consider how objects are built rather than solely focusing on their appearance.
Wool roving is gauze-like fiber from washed and carded fleece. On occasion the fleece is obtained directly from the breeder, who will name the specific sheep from whom the fleece came. This connection from animal to fiber, fiber to steel, and parts to the sculpted whole, provides an opportunity to consider the depth of connection from earth to art.
Building the bases, including the electrical component and cutting and staining the wood, is typically considered “masculine” work. Using fibers is typically considered “feminine” work. This contrast and the physicality of the work itself totally engages my mind and body in the creative process.
The bulb itself is an integral part of the composition, supporting both structure and color. When lit, the sculptures cast light and shadows of distorted images. Those patterns spark endless possibilities for new sculpted forms. And so it continues.
My "Neuron" series is a reflection on the overarching themes of connection, communication and interaction. Neurons are specialized cells that perform these functions within our own bodies and particularly in our brains.
As an ex-school psychologist, current research about how our brains work fascinates me—how they facilitate thought, movement, and functioning. The chemical “soup” and the electrical “spark” are the bases of neurons firing. When the soup or the spark differs from the norm, different results occur. My study of neurobiology—the tiny bits I pick up—certainly keeps me humble and in awe of how it all works.
I am also taken by the beauty and complexity revealed in photographs of nerves firing and connecting. To represent these images, I integrate felting with free motion embroidery (thread painting) and lighted armatures. Each element has purpose. The red of Neurons #1 connotes blood—the organic matter which houses the neurons. The light symbolizes the continuing activity of neurons firing. Any shadows suggest past neurological firings—memories, natural atrophy, or changes in patterns as we build new pathways.
When lit, the piece conveys the continual firing of neurons, our thoughts, feelings, or even life. When dark, it connotes rest, forgetting, or even death.
My “Dimensions” series began with my desire to take two-dimensional felting and expand it by adding the concept of space. Each piece became hollow, having a cavity inside. Both natural and man-made forms invited expression in three-dimensional felting.
I explored different wool fibers in order to find those with the structural strength to form a free-standing hollow object. Molding the wet fibers in a way that is similar to working with clay, I shaped and re-shaped until the desired outcome was achieved. Colors, textures, and details such as beading completed each piece and captured the essence of the form that inspired it.
My "Arras" series is an eclectic group of wall-hangings. These capture designs or images from my travels, ranging from elements of architecture, textiles, or landscapes. In these two-dimensional pieces I used a variety of felting techniques to achieve the desired style or effect; each is unique.