material choice

One of the first questions I get from viewers about my work is “Can I touch?”  It is a delightful question to hear because it lets me know that the material is calling to the viewer in an internal way. The second question I inevitably hear is, “what is it made of?” It is this question that I would like to address, because it carries so much weight in the development of my photography, sculptures and installations.

My choice of natural materials is purely selfish.  I can’t resist the beauty and smell of raw wool.  There is something so grounding in its pervasive presence in my studio. The silkiness of warmed beeswax is about as luxurious as it gets and is my favorite material to work with in the winter.  The use of intestines or sausage casings came about by looking for a non-toxic translucent material. Presently, I am working with salvaged sailcloth I collect from shipyards.

It is such a stark contrast for me when I leave my slick, non-textured, unscented computer and go to my studio into a world that is rich, alive, and even mucky. As a past outdoor educator it is so shocking to me how fast we, as a society, are losing touch with all that is basic and textural.

I make a lot of mistakes in my art, and these mistakes inevitably lead me to some other discovery. Typically this would lead to a lot of waste as I move forward. But with the versatility of natural materials such as wool and wax I can reform and reshape even biodegrade the material.