childhood I have been most content and peaceful
when at work experimenting with art. My very
earliest creations were of natural clay and grass
clippings. These vessels were to be birds nests.
Unfortunately the birds weren't interested in these
human made nests and preferred their own creations.
This experience taught me two things. First, that I
could create joy and peace in my life with the work
of my hands, and secondly, that not everyone will
be excited by my efforts and that is all right.
These were good lessons and I have been happily
creating in various mediums ever since.
In 1995 I attended a one day workshop offered
through our local weaving guild and presented by
Clarence Lee on the weaving of pine needle baskets.
This was to prove to be one of those unexpected
turns in the road that can change the direction of
a persons life. I became fascinated with the
creation of miniature open coil pine needle
baskets. I made dozens of them, often less than an
inch in diameter. I was using all kinds of binder
but always coiling with pine needles. Later I
settled on only using raffia and sewing thread for
my binder, and pine needle for the coil. In 1998 I
discovered closed coiling and the wide range of
possibilities for design this technique offers.
This was an entirely new approach for me and I
worked daily exploring the possibilities and honing
my technique. Soon my work was going into private
collections and in 1999 one of my closed coil
baskets was accepted by the Sonoma Museum of Visual
Arts for their California Small Works Exhibit.
I have been inspired by the basket traditions of
many indigenous people all over the world and in
particular the Native American people of California
and the Southwest. My gourd vessels have been
inspired by Southwestern and African pottery
traditions as well as contemporary potters and
gourd workers. In addition I find continual
inspiration and renewal in the colors and textures
Both the coiling technique and the making of gourd
vessels have been in use for thousands of years. I
feel myself a small link in a very long chain of
people who have made beautiful their everyday
household containers. I am indebted to these
ancient makers of vessels who have left the work of
their hands to inspire and humble my own
All of my work is of original design and I rarely
reproduce a piece. When working on a gourd I often
spend a couple of weeks defining a design to
myself. I want the design to match what I feel
about the gourd. Each gourd's shape, hardness, and
skin coloring present unique possibilities. I move
a gourd around my environment for several weeks,
leaving it in each spot for a couple of days until
I have come to know it very well. Gourd work
involves many separate and equally important
elements and I find a deep satisfaction in slowly
finding the expression that seems to fit a
particular gourd. Working with gourds is a quite
different experience than working on a basket.
Gourd work is very carefully planned and executed.
It takes a while to know what I want to do with a
gourd, but when I begin working on it I am clear
about what I expect the final piece to look
Basket making on the other hand is more of a
flowing sort of experience for me. I rarely sketch
a basket out until I have the first 8 or 9 coils
done and then I only sketch out the next design
element of the basket. Working this way I will see
with my minds eye only a few coils ahead, so the
design can take off in directions I had not
anticipated. Though making a basket this way is a
long process, often taking many weeks to complete a
single basket, it is exciting to me just because of
this serendipitous way of arriving at pattern.
Often I will start out with little more than a hand
full of pine needles, spools of colored thread and
a general feeling for what I want to do. It is a
meditation out of which comes the shape, design and
colors of the basket.
Because I only make miniature baskets, never more
than three and a half inches in diameter, my basket
making supplies all fit into a small box so I can
take it anywhere. I love this portability and am
rarely away from home without my basketing box.
Gourds on the other hand require many tools,
stains, and paints so I only work on gourd vessels
in my home studio.
My work is currently available in the gift shop at
the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, CA. and directly
from my studio. I am happy to undertake
commissioned work and I enjoy the process of
working with my clients to create exactly the
vessel that will reflect their vision.
Ukiah, Ca 95482
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