My Life and Art - The Ongoing Saga
As the child of a prominent artist in Texas and Colorado, I was often left to my own devices - playing with mud pies and plant materials, which literally kept me close to the Earth. A close encounter with a local nativity-scene lamb -when I attempted to lead it home on a leash - was unsuccessful but inspired me to find more easily accessible fiber after I learned to knit.
An introduction to watercolors inflamed a love of color and led me to enroll as a college freshman art major. Awful experience!! Boring! Flat! I just couldn't stay on the paper and color within the lines. I transferred to philosophy/theology and became an independent-minded potter, spinner, knitter, felter, weaver, mosaic maker with lots of room for experimentation. In time, without losing my individual approach, I learned to produce viable work for galleries and shows.
As a weaver in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia I absorbed the values and techniques of traditional homely craft - weaving linen warp and hand-dyed indigo wool weft in overshot coverlets. Later on, attending UNAM (Universidad Nacional de Mexico), I was inspired by living in the old Jewish sector of Mexico City, near the home of Frida Kahlo (and Diego Rivera). Transported by the colors and textures of their work and the trials of the second-class bus system, I saw the country - ruins, museums, native markets - collecting whatever textiles I could afford (and carry home in my backpack).
Still later, back in the Blue Ridge, I taught weaving at schools and fiber fairs, folding up my 36-inch LeClerc loom, spinning wheel, small daughter and her still-smaller puppy to fit into a VW bug to travel across the state.
Through grad school in Chicago, I continued in theology, but managed to get away from the books to feed my soul in a different way through weaving. Inspired by such visiting luminaries as Else Regensteiner, Sheila Hicks and Claire Zeisler at the Art Institute and Lighthouse Art Center, I warped my big loom and set to weave in new directions. Meanwhile, with the North Shore Weavers Guild, I volunteered as a weaver at the Field Museum. Those were the days of great, hairy, beastly creations. I followed blindly and happily until I discovered Japanese Shibori - stitching and felting on silk and wool. Today I am still evolving these techniques.
My masters' degree led to a career as President/CEO of a 180-bed skilled care facility in Chicago, and in Colorado as a hospice/hospital/ER chaplain and registered psychotherapist. In those high-stress years of focusing on the needs of others, I maintained my creative spirit with travels to India, the Middle East, Mexico and Peru. In every country I visited galleries, museums and cooperatives, collecting inspirational textiles, of course.
Since my first "retirement" near family in Colorado, I have served as Executive Director of the Creamery Art Center in Hotchkiss, as a founding Board Member of the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center, and member of ImpressionZ Co-op Gallery in Cedaredge. These and my original 1994 membership in the San Juan Weavers Guild fell by the wayside when I resumed professional work in Hospice and Palliative Care, continuing another decade until my next subsequent "retirement" and a new plunge into fiber!!
Because I always manage to fully submerge myself in chosen work, I found focus in Colorado art events including Aspen Saturday Market, Telluride Mountain Village Market, Ridgway Rendezvous, Ridgway Farmers Market, Lake City Arts Festival, Sneffels Fiber Fest, Telluride Many Hands, Grand Junction Art Center Holiday Show, the Winter Members' Exhibit, Cedaredge Pioneer Town, Strang Ranch Sheep Dog Trials, San Juan Weavers Guild Show and Sale, Montrose Women's Club Christmas Bazaar, Aspen Emporium and Flying Circus, Faboo, Confluence Studios, SPUN, Qutori, and Dog House Espresso. In Utah I have sold my work in the Moab Memorial Day Arts Festival, the Red Rocks Fall Art Festival and the MARC Holiday Market. (Call me for the "skinny" about any of these venues!)
My first one-woman gallery show was presented by our beautiful hometown gallery at the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center in Cedaredge - a retrospective of my handwoven, felted and knitted wearables, art and home decor. My classes for adults and children there have included weaving and felting experiences.
My work was also featured by the Montrose Center for the Arts - art panels and luxury silk wraps. Additionally, KAFM public radio station invited me to present another one-woman show in their studio gallery. Lots of fun meeting new people!
After being juried into the Aspen Saturday Market and the Winter Market, 2018-2022, I enjoyed creating seasonal collections of Origami Summer Travel Jackets and Kabuki Coats. Custom hand woven natural fiber rugs and felted wall art followed an invitation to join the Junior League of Denver Mile High Holiday Market.
In the 2022 ASM post-pandemic season, our everyday life returned to some version of a "new normal", and we offered another new collection of hand woven YAKETS, with felted Yak, Navajo Churro, Icelandic and Alpaca wool from local producers. And, a happy felting experiment resulted in colorful and original Pashmina and silk wraps. These were featured in the Aspen Sojourner magazine and are now offered in selected locations, including Trish Boutique in Virginia Beach.
My dream is to continue to evolve my own work - in collaboration with local fiber farmers, artisans and gallery owners, featuring and promoting the amazing local fiber and artists in our own area.
Resuming my participation in our Weavers Guild and continuing my association from 2019-present with the Confluence Studios, SPUN, Strang Ranch and Cedar Ridge Ranch, I am looking forward to showing, selling and teaching fiber for as long as the body and spirit permit!
Excited to be "retired" again, with yet another "chapter" to be written!