Photos by Rose Deler
I am a maker who draws on the skills handed down to me by my ancestors. They were boat builders, carpenters, seamstresses, farmers, and homemakers. As an artist who takes great pride in the artisanal quality of my work, I am interested in the labor of art making and craft. For me it is very important that I make my own work. My work must bare the mark of my hand as well as my mind. This is a freedom to think and make to change my mind or approach as I go along. It is instant. It is fluid from my head to my hands. There is no need for sketches, explanations or directions. It is private until it is not.
My process is visceral. I make, and then try to understand why. The inspiration comes from many places. It could be a remnant of fabric or cloth that it’s draped in a particular way when it caught my eye, or a thought that challenges me, “I bet you can make this lump of clay into a wearable piece of clothing”. It could simply be a need to make something that I can otherwise not afford, such as a new dress or a footstool. I am happy to approach my work as the vernacular artist would, with out the benefit of knowing how. The new skill obtained in the process is a bonus that I add to my toolbox.
I embrace all the tools in this toolbox; the ones I was gifted and the ones I have earned and developed. With them I am building vessels, sculptural vessels that carry imprints of time, vessels that have contained and shaped our bodies, vessels that carry the evidence of our body image and our self-esteem. They speak to the past but they also speak to the passing of time. They are of someone who once was, and is no more, but is still telling their story.