I most often create my artwork using ordinary materials in unexpected ways. In the past, I’ve used teabags, umbrella parts, masking tape, and office materials . Right now, I’m using Noah’s Ark ceramic figurines found in Red Rose tea boxes. There are seven animal pairs in the set and in “Be Fruitful and Multiply,” I focus on the figurine bases. Each animal features a different shaped base, but they all share a pattern of raised lines on the bottom. Using the base as a reference point, I build cellular formations with graphite, gouache, or a photocopier.
The cellular imagery talks about beginnings – perhaps the creation of a new organism or a new pattern of thinking. I want the cells to move freely across the paper, unencumbered. Often I push them off the edge, so they are not held back by boundaries and have ample room to breathe.
My images are both intuitive and inspired by organic and man-made patterns. Traditionally, my work starts as intimate drawings and evolves over time into complex wall sculptures and installations — I’m hoping to incorporate some of this work in my next performance piece, also called “Be Fruitful and Multiply.”
This body of work has an inspired beginning. After several years of collecting these figurines, I had all but the male zebra. Eager for a complete set so I could begin the work in earnest, I committed to buying boxes of tea until I found it. On the day I headed to buy my first batch of tea, I stopped by our local printers. Cindy and Donna were helping me as usual. I mentioned I had all but one Noah’s Ark figurine and my plan to purchase tea until I found the missing animal. Donna handed me the Noah’s Ark figurine that had rested on her computer for 8 months. In that instant, the herd was complete.