Was I born with a pencil in my hand? No, but by age 10
I was enjoying trying to draw horses, which was my inspiration.
One of my favorite gifts at Christmas when I was 12 was
a paint set that included 50 (well it seemed like it) different
colors and tones and the packet of pictures of birds that
I could paint. While the set did not teach me to draw, it
introduced me to a wonderful exploration of colors.
The exploration of painting on silk was the result of a
class at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle,
Maine in the spring/summer of ’81. My eldest daughter, Shawn,
kept me company and helped me set up our tent for the extended
weekend journey into French painting on silk by Ellen, a
professor at the Parsons Institute of Design, New York City.
It was a largely unknown technique at the time, imported
from France where the art was very skillfully developed
via the White Russians. Shawn played around the island by
day and I learned what Ms. Ellen had to teach; it was blissful.
Silk offers an alive and rich surface that
creates interesting challenges when used as a canvas.
And, while I have interest in many crafts (making cards,
jewelry, pottery, baskets, knitting, tie-dying on cotton,
figuring how to recycle items for us), I have tried to
stay focused on learning more about surface design and
the chemicals which contribute to exploring design and
color expression that silk demands.
Technique often becomes my focus: mono printing, drawing
and painting, multiple dying, stamping, over-dying, just
whatever I can think of to put interesting texture and
color and often picture on the silk. I do scarves a lot,
larger pieces such as the ruanas and cocoon coats, pillows,
ties, table scarves, flat art to frame and even “miniatures”
that can be placed on paper to create a card. Subject
matter in my designs quite often relates to gardening
and flowers, but other times it is an elephant, bird or
tiger; then I need a break from the disciplined line and
work in the abstract. Silk painting is a time of enjoyment
and exploration. I genuinely hope those who buy and wear,
or display my designs on silk catch that same experience.