The timing for this assignment was perfect for me. I had planned a birthday trip to visit Yosemite and we had 8 hours of driving each way. I turned off all electronics and just used pencil and notebook. After writing for awhile I wondered how I could organize all those thoughts and condense. An idea for a food anology came to me that I tried out. It was hard work but fun and made the time pass quickly. It may not be appropriate for any publication, but the experience was illuminating. This is the story I wrote.
I grew up in a small Minnesotan iron ore community, which I describe using a food analogy, because food was an integral part of my professional life as a dietitian and nutrition administrator. This town was like vinaigrette, the oil being the elite class which rose to the top, the first and second generation immigrants, the vinegar, and the seasoning, recent immigrants. They mixed easily when shaken, but separated into strata upon resting. Food was my first creative experience, but when that expired, I substituted fabric. Both were a blend of creativity and utility, and both paths resulted from my need to seek and conquer challenges. I did not acknowledge my artistic expression until late in life, but early experiences influenced it.
Making art is like emulsification, where energy is added to ingredients. My recipe is a blend of cerebral with several drops of serendipity. It begins with ideas, generated through play, observing nature, or listening. Ideas come from shadows, shape and spaces as well as concepts. They are the result of play, with paint, paper, photography and fabric dye. To assemble the ingredients I limit my focus to one idea at a time, develop the plan, research as needed and collect or produce the materials as desired. This last step brings an eclectic flavor to my body of work, reminiscent of my community of origin. Often I include rusted fabrics and colors of my summers spent on the water and in the woods. I chose fabric as my medium for artistic expression because I was acquainted with sewing and the tactile experience and color of fabric was exciting to me. The actual process of creation evolves as I set out to follow a plan that becomes a rough roadmap. The inclusion of an elite element, like silk, is a trademark. To complete the work I add a dash of hand stitching to celebrate the imperfections of life.
As a life long student, I have become strongly seasoned vinegar, absorbing the flavors of life and expressing my thoughts and emotions through fiber with strength and optimism. Abstract expressions provide a framework for me to simplify how I see the big picture without sacrificing meaning or aesthetic harmony.