I am intrigued by the idea in science that forests are interconnected, that trees actually talk to each other, cooperating and protecting each other like a human community. I am also delighted by the fact that human’s share 25% of our DNA with trees. So my recent work blurs the line between what is human and what is nature. I imagine myself taking a walk in the woods or through a desert and emerging as a changed being. I am constantly amazed by the very human quality of what I see out there: Palm trees, for example, are like giant shaggy men dancing in the waterfalls. Oak trees have exuberant arms reaching to the sky. To me, this is the best kind of anthropomorphism, full of abundance and joy.
I start with sketches: Petals and pods, berries and seeds. In my studio, I create parts and pieces using pretty much every available ceramic handbuilding technique: slabs, pinching, coils, molds. I try for ridiculous extravagance and excess, just like nature herself. When I finally stack all the pieces together into one whole, it is another delightful moment of invention. I am guided by the pleasure of the process, by the lushness of nature. I work to capture the restorative feeling I get from the woods. What does it take to designate something as human? A branch with a hand? A mouth full of petals? My hope is that by creating an entire world of Leaf Totems, I will start a conversation about how we humans relate to our natural world. I want people to see the joy of this natural community, to feel the abundance of our world, and to honor our place in it.
My artwork is available at the following galleries:
Ann Arbor Art Center
Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center
Mackinac's Little Gallery, Mackinac Island
Sleeping Bear Gallery, Empire
Twisted Fish Gallery, Elk Rapids
Contact me to learn more.