Artist Statement

“Sometimes since I've been in the garden I've looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden - in all the places.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

I am exploring the nature of intimacy through the creation of ceramic tableware and sculptural wall pieces. Tableware is linked to daily rituals and celebrations while the sculptural pieces provide a focal point for contemplation. They are related to each other by their ability to draw one into the work to examine, ponder, and touch. Causing a longing for touch is the vehicle I use to create intimate relationships with my work. My surfaces are tactile and invite physical, visual and emotional touch. Depth in the surface is created by layering mask and stencils and the building up of the surface through application of liquid clay slips. Additional texture is created through fine line work carved into the surface that carries a tangible story for fingertips and eyes to trace.

These surfaces are evident on both my sculptural and functional pieces. Where intimacy plays a significant role is in the handles. I have been working out the technical challenges of creating handles that are inviting and pleasing to hold and applying them to mugs and other items such as pitchers and teapots. I chiefly use mugs for this investigation because often this is the one object that we have the most physical contact with on a daily basis. Embracing the mug and bringing it to our lips is a daily ritual practice that allows time to slow down and to appreciate something special and out of the ordinary.

With no siblings and few close friends my childhood fantasies were played out by myself and often involved being out in nature or in my mother’s garden. I cherished books such as The Secret Garden and James and the Giant Peach. I began to create my own gardens in adolescence and adulthood where my fantasies and intimate connections to plants and animals could continue to grow.

My intent with the many layers of information in my work is to cause a desire for one to pause and linger on each piece and to take time to discover the subtle nuances that play upon the surface and interact with the form. Personal imagery that I layer onto my surfaces include flowers, birds, and insects juxtaposed with hard-edged geometric patterns. The botanical elements suggest a passage of time-absence contrasting with presence. Individual motifs are connected to specific memories. In contrast to the botanical imagery, colorful geometric patterns, bring energy and balance to my compositions and serve as an initial point of visual attraction to the work.

In my studio practice I am creating a visual and physical garden through the manipulation of clay, slips and glazes. The saying, “Bloom where you are planted,” has become a strong life philosophy. The work I create is a way to bring the garden into the interior environment and create both focal points and functional objects for daily use, contemplation, and physical and mental renewal.