My foundational work in painting began before college, and led to multiple exhibitions of large-scale works. My favorite subject is the narrative captured in each person’s ordinary, mundane moments; I use the human figure along with abstract imagery to convey the private story that I believe is captured within each person. My work in painting evolved into an exploration of printmaking, bookbinding, needlepoint, and fiber arts. In each of these media, I work to celebrate the sacred, ordinary moments of everyday people.
Shortly after I married my husband Buffalo, he was injured and unable to walk for 6 months; during that time, I became his caregiver, and my artwork turned from large-scale painting to handheld stitching. This was by no means my first exploration of drawing with a needle and thread; it was, however, the first time I became so preoccupied with the healing metaphors expressed in stitching. I was partially inspired by the plates, screws, and staples that now hold my husband’s leg together. It is also the simple, but deep connection with my family history that has kept me stitching since his recovery. The women in my family have used stitching for generations to mend clothing, and reclaim scraps. Stitches bind wounds, mend torn garments, and can make beautiful and functional remnants that would have otherwise been discarded.
Over time, my subject matter has shifted from painting the unnamed human figure, to depicting the story of generations of my family in needlepoint sketches. I recently inherited hundreds of un-labeled, antique family photos. The mysterious faces, figures, and hints of story that I see looking back at me from these sepia-toned snapshots are the subject matter for my new body of embroidered paintings, collectively entitled Tales of Woah. I am immersed in this collection of old photographs, using them one by one to describe the mystery of these people who are lost to me, and to the ages. I am telling their story to assert their place in our local history, and to connect my own growing family with its roots. I am examining the story of my ancestors so that, like them, I can leave a legacy of relentless commitment and a quest for something better, for those who will inherit my name.