Book Arts Statement

As a general rule, I’m a maker of sculptural books. I first began making wearable books to emulate Flemish ruffs. Since that time, I’ve continued making wearable books as metaphors for limitations or restraints. The text is often short and autobiographical.

Occasionally, a particular project calls for a form other than a round structure. Such is the case in Irons in the Fire, where the book assumes the shape of a clothing iron or in Seeds of Knowledge, where the books are pod-like. In these situations the content informs the shape of the books.

The telling of family stories is immensely important to me. Inspiration for The Love Affair came to me when I inherited the love letters exchanged between my grandparents in the 1930s. After cutting the letters apart and interspersing them, I bound them with a Coptic stitch. My intent was to retain the couple’s privacy by cutting the pages small enough so that significant content couldn’t be read by others. I created the book in the form of an infinity symbol to suggest that the couple might continue their communion from life into death. I housed the book in a wooden box crafted by my grandfather.

Sometimes a traditional shape and binding technique is appropriate for the content. For example, shortly after my mother’s death, I published her memoir. This book, entitled Family Secrets, is a saucy coming-of-age story set in rural Washington State in the mid-20th century. The book is illustrated with the photos from my mother’s youth. Since she was raised on a ranch, it seemed most fitting to fashion a rectangular book that appears to be covered in rawhide.

Whatever the inspiration, my work begins with handmade paper and ends with a carefully crafted and unique object that I hope will be cherished by others for generations.

Paper Garment Statement

When I was a little girl, a family member told me that eating tomatoes would make me “big, strong and hairy chested.” I avoided eating tomatoes for twenty years.

As a general rule, my sculptural work is inspired by childhood myths or adult anxieties regarding my body. Like my childhood association between the consumption of tomatoes and the growth of chest hair, I sometimes find body-stories or body-experiences to be simultaneously comical and horrifying. It is often these extremes in emotional reactions that drive me to produce the work, in an attempt to better comprehend each situation.

Recently, the parameter of my work has expanded to include the well being of loved ones. Coping with familial illness and motherhood has altered my outlook on the world and my responsibilities in life.

I use clothing as subject matter because it provides me a ground on which to investigate identity and corporeality. My garments are metaphors. They can encompass narrative qualities, illustrate and dissolve bodily fears, or act as talismanic devices.

In addition to utilizing handmade paper, I often incorporate non-archival media into my work. I derive great joy from transforming everyday materials into something personal, meaningful and beautiful. When I see tomato paste, dog hair, sausage casings, spent tea bags or dried fish skins, I envision a work that may be transitory in nature, but rich in surfaces.