I grew up in North Carolina. My parents were born and raised in Virginia. My father’s family were farmers. All of the women in my family were masters of needlework – sewing, crocheting, and knitting. My father built and restored furniture. Consequently, I learned the meaning of preservation at a young age. My appreciation of and attraction to materials that have a sense of history began then. It is not so much nostalgia that attracts me to these materials. Instead, it’s their sense of a past that is unknown and therefore mysterious.
Because of my background in sculpture; it is fitting and logical that I would make books. My sculptural books utilize space through their layering of images, materials, textures and meanings. I made my first books as a child. I began to seriously explore this art form after taking a course at the Penland School of Crafts in 1994. I appreciate all book structures particularly those that can stand freely when opened such as accordion, tunnel, and flag book forms.
I have always loved rummaging through boxes and discovering their interior treasures. I clearly remember as a child going through my Mother’s sewing materials; noting the rich colors, textures, and patterns. Shaking and counting the contents of her button box were informal lessons in shape, color and form.
I have become a collector of things over the years and utilize these collections in my books and assemblages. Papers, fabrics, old photographs, maps, stamps, sewing notions, insect wings, dried flowers, mono prints, wood, and other eclectic objects might find their way into one of my pieces. A piece begins by observing the relationship of one object to another, one image to another, and eventually joining these materials together.
My early books were strictly visual with minimal use of text. However, for the past several years, I have been exploring writing. This is due in part to my learning how to letterpress print. A winter residency at the Penland School of Crafts in 2012 prompted my search for my own press which I found in the spring of 2012. I set up shop and now print under the imprint Purple Pumpkin Press.
I am aware that as I age, those childhood influences – growing up in the South, an appreciation for handmade and preserved objects; in addition to the cultivation of land and plants – are finding their way into my work. It’s the contemplative aspect of my work that I hope will promote my audience to ponder their own ideas and perspectives about the interdependent web of life.