My art evolved out of a love for Chinese culture, particularly language and painting – a love that began in 1982 when I moved to Hong Kong to study traditional Chinese painting and culture. Frustrated by the technical demands of rice paper, ink, and brush, I began to explore Chinese calligraphy in an already-mastered medium: fabric. The fabric paintings emerged as a new way of writing on prepared surfaces, capturing the formal beauty of the characters in a new aesthetic language. The art of viewing Asian calligraphy is a two-fold process involving an appreciation of both form and function, image and meaning. In this art form we are called upon to admire the aesthetic beauty of the word while simultaneously contemplating the dimensions of its meaning. In my work I explore a full range of this art form in my fundamental creative language – fabric.
Through the layering of cloth and the multitude of stitches, paint and print, hidden meanings are revealed beneath the surface of the character. Each stitch is a meditative act bringing both artist and viewer closer to the beauty and meaning of the Chinese character. The work becomes a daily meditation, taking the viewer, if only for a moment, into the world of spirit, a place of hope and renewal, of love and peace.
I use images that are spiritually charged: hoping to move the viewer beyond surface explorations in to that which is deeper, more personal and more meaningful. The use ofimages such as angels, the Virgin Mary, the Christ, Buddha, Shiva, or simpler, more archetypal images like the hand, the eye and the heart are chosen for their evocative and spiritual qualities. Other images have been chosen for their elemental properties, such as the circle, triangle, square and spiral. In some instances certain images have taken on personal meaning for me and have appeared and reappeared in my work throughout the years. The hand has played an important role throughout my career as a personal symbol for creativity and creation. I began to sew and work with fabric at a very young age, thus the hand became a symbol for personal expression and communication. The snake is also a powerful personal symbol for me as in ancient times it was a symbol of power, creativity and fertility.
Travel has also played an inspirational role in the creation of my work – particularly visits to temples, churches and shrines in countries around the world. Extended periods of time spent in Europe, Taiwan, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Japan have served as artistic inspiration and life revelation. I use text, imagery and symbols from all the places I have lived, worked, and traveled. The OM’s of India, Gwan Yin in Taiwan, the stupa’s of Myanmar, the mudras of Nepal, the eye of Horace in Egypt, the ghosts of Cambodia, the lotus of Thailand, the masks of Bali, bodi leaves in Laos, Chinese calligraphy, the churches in Europe and the Kanga’s in Tanzania all play a part in the creation of meaning for me.
I have been a factory worker, janitor, maid, camp counselor, nanny, waitress, sous chef, head chef, secretary, seamstress, entrepreneur, costume designer, director, choreographer, clothing designer, jewelry designer, interior decorator, artist, teacher, mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, aunt, friend and soul mate. I drove a 1967 beetle across the country in 1976, have lived or visited every state in the United States and have made my home on three continents. I live life believing that it is important to follow what pulls you toward it, as long as you are facing the light and remember that when you leap the net will appear.
Currently living in Asia having raised three children to young adulthood and working as an international creative arts educator and artist I believe that we are all responsible for creating our own destiny and am going to make sure that mine is interesting