I have always had a strong interest in color and pattern. For me, the weaving process incorporates both of these elements. The result is a very rich, varied, and textured surface. In a sense, I have the best of both worlds: the ability to directly paint and dye color on the threads and also develop, on the loom, the patterns and textures that I love.
Technically, the warp threads are first hand-painted with procion dyes on a table, just as a artist were painting a canvas, only horizontally. Sometimes stencil images would be added in layers on the silk threads. The painting of the warp is spontaneous, direct and employs an element of chance. I place silk fabric under these threads to absorb the excess dye, like a drop cloth. The loom is then dressed with these painted warp threads and the piece woven using plain weave or freeform twill with a metallic weft and silk supplementary wefts. I enhance the painted image with texture and color as the cloth is woven.
The drop cloth silk fabric that was beneath the threads is later cut up and pieced into a quilt. It is further embellished by hand quilting with dyed silk threads.
The imagery within my work has been growing as my life experiences change, expand, and evolve. From the beginning, I have incorporated the use of the universal symbol , the hand. Although the hand is no longer as strong as it use to be it slips in with other important symbols to reflect my personal experiences.
Living in Kenya for two years with my family has been etched into my memory and subconscious being. The Kenyan years were filled with periods of visual delight, emotional excitement and spiritual reflection. My woven textiles are a distillation of these myriad experiences that has found expression through my fingertips. The combination of lilies and other floral shapes, sun birds, weaver birds and the kingfisher and the simple ceramic vessel express my fondest memories of our life in East Africa.
As I grow, leaving my African experience a magical memory, I have become intrigued with the role of the female in different societies. My years in Kenya initiated this fascination. My own personal life as a artist, wife and mother has become a more important aspect of my work. I have become intrigued with the shape and idea of the “house” which to me is the source of stability of many societies. My recent work, hopefully, portrays the richness of life and culture that springs from the home.
Spending a year in the Middle East has brought to me another culture that has been expressed in my textile art. The vast desert, the ancient ruins, the biblical history, and the customs of Islam had a profound affect upon me. Even now symbols and images are beginning to form that express my journey through Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Crete. These images will seep out through my fingertips throughout the future years.