Growing up, I was the designated artist of the family. I attended a high school for the arts, where I experimented with incorporating found objects into assemblages, and wrote my senior thesis on the usage of trash as both subject and material in modern art. I later received a BA in art history, followed by a long hiatus from art to pursue a PhD in Chinese history and raise a family. When I returned to art, it was through quilting and textiles, but I retained my commitment to upcycled materials.
I’m mostly a self-taught sewist and quilter. I work on a domestic sewing machine in the guest room in my house. The small, crowded space limits the kind of art I can make. Most of my pieces are therefore small, and are intended for small spaces and a close, intimate viewing. For a while, I enjoyed making functional art, but am now more drawn to textile fine art.
Inspiration for my work comes from everything around me. My garden and nature in general, places I visit, beautiful things I see, events I experience and, of course, the textiles themselves.
I love textiles. Beautiful, colorful, textured. I can’t resist their tactility. They excite me, inspire me, ignite my creativity. They give me a million and one ideas (often all at the same time), which I am then compelled to explore.
A historian by training, I value the past of the materials I work with. I respect their birth as other people’s creations, and, by turning them into something new, pay a homage to those who made them. Likewise, I recognize each piece’s individual journey through our world, and appreciate its unique story.
I find beauty in unlikely places: peeling paint on a wall, layers of old paper on a billboard, rusting structures, and old, used, or discarded items. Throughout my life I looked for this beauty and tried to shine light on it, be it through art, photography, or academic research. Materials, layers, past, history, stories. These are the foundations of my art.
My designs center on the basic elements of art: color, texture, pattern and shape. I love bold textures, and therefore use mostly home-decor textiles. I prefer strong colors in in-between hues. There are rarely pure primary colors in my work. Patterns and shapes are an integral part of my source material, and I use them to my advantage. I enjoy combining, juxtaposing and otherwise playing with different fabrics, in ways that use the existing to create something new and surprising.
I mostly enjoy abstract, but sometimes add figurative elements as well. Working in a series is something I enjoy, as it allows me to explore a certain idea or concept in greater depth.
Environmental sustainability is very important to me. In my own lifetime plastic, the most amazing material ever invented by humans, became one of our planet’s greatest threats. Our so-called recycling system turned out to be a mirage. Climate is changing, glaciers are melting, the world is filling with our trash, and the greatest mass-extinction is underway. Our Earth is facing an ecological disaster, much of it as a result of human activity. I believe that each and every one of us should do what we can to slow the damage.
In my daily life I routinely conserve, recycle and compost. Preventing useful items from going into the landfill has therefore been a strong motivation in my work as well. I’m committed to using only upcycled fabrics for my art. In this I am privileged to be following a long line of artists, starting with Dada Movement artists such as Kurt Schwitters, who have been breathing new life into discarded objects. I not only repurpose, upcycle, and reuse fabrics, but also try to pursue a zero-waste policy in my studio. I regularly attempt to find use even for the smallest scrap. This is my modest contribution to the wellness of our planet. I try to help save our world, one piece of fabric at a time.