My Life and Art
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 and later inspired me to become a potter, spinner and weaver.
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 and appealing art for galleries and shows.
As a weaver in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia I absorbed the values and techniques of traditional homely craft - linen warp with hand-dyed indigo wool weft in overshot coverlets. Later on, attending UNAM (Universidad Nacional de Mexico), I lived 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 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 also 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 approaches into my own individual interpretations.
My theology degree led to a career as 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.
In my "retirement" in Colorado, I have served as Executive Director of the Creamery Art Center in Hotchkiss and as a founding Board Member of the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center in Cedaredge.
Participation in selected Western Colorado art events has included: 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 and Sale and the Winter Members' Exhibit, Cedaredge Pioneer Town, Hotchkiss Sheep Dog Trials, San Juan Weavers Guild Annual Show and Sale, Montrose Women's Club Christmas Bazaar. In Utah I have exhibited my work in the Moab Annual Memorial Day Arts Festival, the Red Rocks Fall Art Festival and the MARC Holiday Market. My work is also available in local galleries and shops - Confluence Studios Gallery in Grand Junction, Stacy's on Main, and Montrose Center for the Arts.
My first one-woman gallery show was at the beautiful new 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 second show was presented by the new Montrose Center for the Arts, with new large art panels and silk felted luxury wraps. In early 2020 I was invited to join the emerging Confluence Studios in Grand Junction, where my large felted installations and artwear are featured at present. Also in 2020 KAFM public radio station invited me to present another one-woman show in their studio gallery. Lots of fun meeting new people!
In 2018 I was honored to be juried into the Aspen Saturday Market and subsequent Winter Market. I continued in 2019, with a featured Summer Travel Collection of Origami Jackets and Kabuki Travel Coats, plus custom handwoven natural fiber rugs.
Early this year (2020) we were devastated when the Pandemic limited the Market to essential food vendors and excluded artisans, but we were invited by the City of Aspen Special Events Coordinator to create an online presence. Seems to be well-received so far.
For the 2020 holiday season, my work was juried into the Junior League of Denver Holiday Mart, an online venue for artist websites. Similarly the Moab Holiday Arts Festival decided to present an online market, in which my work is included.
In the coming year I anticipate continuing teaching fiber arts: Weave a Rug in a Day, Western Colorado Sheep School (preparing raw fleece, carding, spinning, building a loom, and weaving). Spinning: beginner, cordage, art yarn. Dimensional Vessels, Shibori. Dyeing: silk, wool, alpaca.
My dream is to continue to evolve my own work - now focused on weaving, spinning and felting - in collaboration with local fiber farmers, artisans and gallery owners to foster a Western Slope fiber cooperative.
The goal is to feature and retain local fiber - varied and beautiful - in our own area, producing beautiful marketable fiber works. With some sense of direction and collaboration, a co-op could provide sustainable financial benefit in a seriously depressed section of the Western Slope.
At this point, I have amassed equipment for classes - a flying shuttle loom, three four-harness floor looms, three spinning wheels and three knitting machines, plus enormous fiber resources - all intended to teach an increasing number of local residents new skills that could provide benefit through a thriving local cottage industry.
Please feel free to contact me with your own supportive ideas as I work to make this dream come true.
Small steps...little acorns...big dreams!