My work as a conservationist has led me ever westward, each relocation culminating in greater personal awareness of my new geography. I’ve repeated some part of the transition from outsider to local with every move and am continually studying themes of inclusion and identity.
I am motivated to create work that combines my interests in the environment and connection to place in a manner that invites questions about human bonds and attachment to home. I document shapes and textures of wild habitats through photography and illustrations that are later incorporated into large-scale pattern installations and printed silkscreen designs. Printmaking embodies a basic utilitarian function, but I’ve always found this aspect of reproduction comforting. Through each replica, I study literal and emotional patterns, recognizing and linking repeating themes in a nearly compulsory manner, creating a sense of order and calm in an otherwise dynamic environment. Climate changes, ecological succession occurs, landscapes are developed, people move on. The ability to create multiples appeals to my anxious desire for permanence and continuity within the natural world and my own life.
Many of the processes I currently employ are self-taught and developed within the last six years. Having relocated to rural Alaska in a dark and rainy January, I learned to screenprint and machine and hand sew from online tutorials, library books, and YouTube videos. I admire that the essential process of printmaking has evolved relatively very little over the past several hundred years, and I value the ability to contemporarily engage in crafts that have been traditionally viewed as “women’s work.” I am drawn to basic artistic practices that can be conducted in a variety of spaces with minimal tools and equipment. I prefer to work with natural and low-toxicity materials. This method is part personal philosophy, for keeping my creative practice simple is mollifying and orderly. It is also practical, as my processes are executed in my small home studio on a fragile septic system.
The germination of my work is documentation: traveling to observe, photographing and sketching to record, and realizing the final product through print and textile interpretation. In my conservation work, I have valued moments of sitting in landowners’ kitchens, standing in their hayfields, walking their woods, and listening to the history and love of their land. Though I can create illustrations and prints of these landscapes, I aspire to incorporate personal stories of place into my art. I thrive as an artist when I express the juxtaposition of the natural environment and humans’ heart-wrenching and often conflicting connection to it.