Sunday, October 23, 2011


Last Spring, when I was deeply immersed in conjuring my thesis work, I was contacted by Ashley Brook from ArtZine. She was interested in my work and wanted to do a documentary for ArtZine, an online art magazine. It was great to get to know her and a wonderful opportunity to document aspects of my work and life from an outside point of view. The segment is about 4 minutes long. This is the link:

My son Ely is featured as well! The interview and printing sequences were filmed in Haskett Hall just weeks before it closed. I am told that there is a shorter version on WOSU, but have yet to see myself on T.V.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Thesis

Looking back brings on a glut of feelings. Just now, looking through pictures, I feel some of the excitement that ruled my life last Spring. It was so much work. And not just for me. I truly could not have done it without Steve. He gave me courage, expertise, brut strength and ongoing moral support. Many nights when I couldn’t sleep, he held me and told me that I could do it. Something about the weeks that we worked together reminded me of the very beginning of our romance, 25 Springs before, and I fell in love with him all over again.

Ely was infinitely patient - and really my biggest cheerleader. My committee in the Ohio State Art Dept. was key. Amy Youngs
for her technical prowess, positive energy and for pushing me to explore each option. Pheoris West for seeing so deeply into my ideas without over intellectualizing my process or products. And Charles. I often thought that Charles Massey, Jr. understood my work better than I did. My committee meetings were the very most valuable experiences among dozens of formative ones in graduate school.

Thinking back on the weeks and months it took to conjure my thesis into life, I think of time in my Haskett Hall studio with Rachel Heberling Susana Alvarez Their insights and understanding allowed me to surrender to the experience.

As the installation Understairs came into being, I met it like a series of old friends. I sit now on our enclosed patio. Cricket song keeping Ely and I company on the last perfect day of August. He is falling in love with the dictionary as he works on 5th grade homework. In March, I worked on this patio with Steve, sawing wood to build new basement stairs; the ones that came with the house were destined to become my art. It was Spring Break and the ground held snow in its shadows, now sprinkled with sawdust. The old stairs were damaged by termites years before. I had a vision of full sized stairs in my installation and our basement received a flight that could hold up to the next 60 years.

My studio space at Ohio State wasn’t even close to big enough for my ideas. Our living room became my studio. When we finally erected the stairs and built the platform, I thought, “You see! This is what I have been talking about!” It was so clear and without compromise.

Through editing 12+ hours of moth and silkworm video into a 22 minute loop I ensured that my precious pets would live on, though their short lives had ended many months before. In this image you can see a still of the moth footage being projected under the stairs.

When I pulled the intaglio print that would become the wallpaper, with over 20 chine colles, four different papers and custom mixed metallic ink, it was even more beautiful than I hoped. After many hours learning more about Photoshop and hundreds of dollars, when I went to pick up the wallpaper from Think Big Color Travers had made another part of my vision a reality.

This link to Urban Art Space contains some images of work that led up to the thesis and also an exerpt from my artist statement. It may give you some insight if you are wondering what it is all about.

Installing at Urban Art Space was an adventure of its own. Painful poetry readings, catty classmates and restricted hours were tempered by the amazing UAS staff, lots of laughter and coffee breaks with my girlfriends. I honestly loved how my project came together.

My second work for the show, Caterpillar House was a collaboration with the silkworms, my husband and my dear friend Jillian Harris Davis and her pre-school art students at Columbus School for Girls (CSG) Steve built the structure to my specifications in June 2010.

Caterpillars and moths lived in it and left evidence. Jillian raised silkworms, out of season to live in it at UAS.

The 3 and 4 year olds came with their teachers on the second day of the exhibition. They sketched and toured while there, but more importantly, they delivered 27 silkworms to live in Caterpillar House. I went in and fed them every single day that the exhibit was open.

I was fortunate to meet with faculty, classmates and other trusted mentors, like my high school art teacher, Patty Krumm. Her response, as well as the thoughtful comments of Carmel Buckley , Ann Hamilton Michael Mercil help me think about what will be next. I actually thought of Michael as my forth committee member. I know I would have never gone as far without his feedback. I nearly filled a whole book during the brief duration of the show with comments and my own thoughts about the work.

So many friends and family members came to the show! It was exciting to see everyone and to see their response to the work.

I returned to graduate school for the purpose of seeing how far I could go with my art. Now I see it was only the beginning.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Graduation and Summer Teaching

It has been a very long time since I updated blog-land. I am happy to announce that I now hold a Master of Fine Art degree. I graduated in the Ohio State horseshoe on June 13, 2011. It was hotter than it seemed and longer than I wanted it to be. But, I am glad I participated. I think ceremonies are culturally critical; weddings, funerals and graduations signify that important things have happened. My husband, son, parents, father-in-law, aunt and two closest friends sweated it out with me and we celebrated after at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Ding Ho.

Summer Teaching
The day after I graduated, I started teaching art at Columbus Montessori Education Center in their elementary summer camp program. We had all-day field trips every Thursday to Columbus Metro Parks and to the Audubon Center, really amazing programs! I taught ten nature-themed lessons in seven weeks. Kids painted with bugs,
mixed neutrals from primary colors to paint interactive owls with moving heads and wings,

and created mammal sock puppets!
I was also lucky to teach at the Wexner Center for the Arts again this summer. 3rd -5th graders joined the expedition as Junior Cartographers. They made maps of their room, home or neighborhood, mapped the oval as teams and developed imaginary maps on tea and coffee stained papers. We visited the Map Room at Ohio State’s Thompson Library. They learned more about maps and mixed media and we all had a lot of fun. My amazing ten year old son, Ely was with me almost every day this summer. He was my student, companion and creative collaborator. We ended summer camp season at Columbus School for Girls in their August in Action program. Due to construction complications, the camp met at the Kirk Campus, in a beautiful Tudor mansion on expansive grounds. It had the feel of a true camp rather than a school and we all enjoyed being close to nature - except for the shortage of toilets and plethora of biting insects. My 3rd-5th grade students made lots of art. My favorite projects were the paintings of dragonflies and their da Vinci diaries made of stained papers featuring interactive components, drawings, research and imaginings. Japanese side binding with that age groups was rather challenging. I kept telling them (and myself) that is was hard, but worth it. This was confirmed when one child hugged her book upon completion!

We went on many field trips this summer, and one of the most profound for me was visiting the Open Door Studio. I reconnected with an acquaintance from long ago and was inspired along side the children by meeting so many artists who are differently abled. It proves to me all over again that art comes from within and people of all ages, all abilities, all cultures just need the opportunity to be expressive.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Making Art

Reliquary This is a luminary assemblage with preserved silkworms, spun cocoons, intaglio prints, paint and light, 17” x 17” x 10” deep including lamp
detail from bio art visual journal Concept and object planning for Reliquary object, 10” x 7”

detail from bio art visual journal Documents field trip to the OSU wetlands and artist research. Served as inspiration for Reliquary, 10” x 7”

The Game of Life, detail Includes hand sewn silkworm and silk moth puppets, white cardboard house with three channel projection of cycle of life moth documentary video that I also shot and edited

detail from bio art visual journal Puppet and house plans, 10” x 7”

Moth House, cloaked (detail) Bedroom with illuminated cocoons This is an assemblage work with found/repurposed doll house, abandoned cocoons, expired silkmoths and LED lights, 30” x 17” x 18”

still from Gendered Moth Boxes performance In this piece, I placed together one box with two live male moths and another with two live female moths for the first time. This performance included a spoken word soundtrack featuring portions of my artist statement including moth narrative.

Life (and death) Boxes Used in performance, shown with dead insects, 8” x 10” x 8”, installed