nests emergged when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I found myself in the stereotypical habbit of needing to perfect my surroundings. I was invited to participate in a book art tour and, once again, found myself reimagining the meaning of ‘book.’ These nests are made with deconstructed love letters and sacred writings on motherhood. Each nest is a tender expression of love woven for my first-born.
dig where you stand
sugar and mixed media installation, approx. 20 x 5 feet, 2009
Laying tracing paper over old family letters, I read them again and again searching for each letter of the alphabet to copy. Each page speaks to a different moment in time, and while the details are always unique, there are commonalities. My Grandmother’s sisters speak of Jesus often and all sign their letters, “Lovingly in Him.” I imagine many letters between sisters in 1946 were similar, familial details rendered through the filter of Christ. As I trace the letters, my primary concern is the individual letter; each ‘a’ for example, is rendered differently, and I attempt to trace the movements of the writer, mimicking their body with mine. Their creation of script is perhaps more individual than their construction of language.
Approximately 250 pounds of granulated sugar rains sporadically from programmed dispensers hung from the ceiling. The sugar is seductive in its soft sound as it dusts tracing paper and sparkly quality when it catches the light.
Written on the floor is an expansive alphabet of letters (a-z) and excerpts of text traced from family correspondence that are inscribed on layers of tracing paper. Copying these letters allowed me to mimic the writer’s body with my own, the way a child might when learning to write.
Falling sugar buries most of the alphabet on the floor over the course of the exhibition, creating more distance between viewers and the script. Hundreds of polished silver spoons surround the text on the floor and provide a means of unearthing the alphabet beneath. Yet when the sugar is agitated, it erases the carefully rendered letters. Memory is seductive and problematic; it can suddenly cause submergence in the past and yet offers only imperfect recollection when we try to return.
I was interested in sugar because of its function as a politically charged material connected to the colonial mission, and its presence in homes for sweetening domestic life. There is an inherent tension between the function of the material and its origin. Similarly, I found that home is often an unwitting arena for political dissemination in a deeply personal and intimate environment.
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7YA6YIV9FM
cradlesong consists of 50 mobiles made from collected and polished vintage serving items and jewelry. Each is connected to a motor that spins the mobile and a re-constructed and tinny version of “Mamma’s going to buy you a mockingbird” plays from above.
The piece began with an investigation into lullabies. I was interested in the lyrics of songs like ‘Mamma’s going to buy you a mockingbird’ that promote security through the accumulation of domestic things. I found that there was a strong contradiction between the physical nurturing that typically comforts a child when a lullaby is sung and the message of the song that promotes attainment.
These mobiles are aesthetic symbols of inheritance, both seductive and distracting. While they are shiny, spinning, and hopeful they are also weighty and unsettling for viewers when standing underneath. The mobiles are positioned so that they are out of reach and viewers are bathed in shadows. cradlesong proposes that values are inscribed through spoken language, a language of material, and memory.
You tube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk-r6AuaBGY
Making mobiles is tedious and painful. I am constantly poked with wires and my hands are raw from pliers and polishing. I have rubbed and rubbed to make tarnished things sparkle, and I have gotten ill from the fumes. But I am happy with the mobiles, happy and seduced. Constructed from several purchases and some donations from my neighbours and family, they are shinning, spinning—hopeful. But I wait for something to give, for the crash, for the fall to the floor. It is difficult to ensure that their weight can be supported.
detail and installation view of 50 houses, hand-made felt and thread, approx. 10 x 4 feet, 2008
My work is grounded in an exploration of material, its origin, its cultural connotations, and its inherent ability to be understood through the senses. For example, there is often an immediacy of understanding that happens when we can touch something. For this piece, I considered how ‘home’ might be conveyed through gesture and material.
Felt making is an intense physical process; it relies on gestures of teasing out rovings, laying them in perpendicular arrangements, rubbing with soapy water, rinsing, and throwing. The process is a careful, loving, yet at times aggressive one that results in a sturdy fabric of intertwined fibre. I was attracted to felt not only for its gestural process of making but also the coziness that it conveys. The structures are at once secure and fragile.
This piece is also connected to my heritage, not only for the prominence of felt in Scandinavian tradition, but also because navigating my way around the houses reminds me of being a child and flying over snow covered houses to visit family.
text cut-outs and spools, 2 x 1 inch, 2007
Someone told me that ‘reading is like following a thread.’ As a result I became preoccupied with gestural references in language, particularly expressions relating to how information is ‘pulled together,’ or neatly ‘tied up,’ etc. This series of work attempts to make these physical references visible. Poetry books were dissected and the extracted lines of text were reconfigured to form new narratives, taking the form of thread. In order to read the thread, it is necessary to unwind the spools.
collected book pages, thread, and mixed media, approx. 5 feet by 2.5 feet, 2006
As an undergraduate student I studied Visual Art and Literature. I found that the two areas naturally merged in the studio. I was interested in the ways that acquired knowledge constructs a framework within which we operate and is constructed from various sources over time. paper dress is hand-stitched from book pages, many of which are canonical examples of poetry and prose. Some of these pages are loosely attached and could fall away as acquired knowledge and memories are sometimes prone to do.
This is an ongoing series of gestures (one hundred and eight) for creative community building. Each project is meant to engage others in creative action and thought that creates positive ripples in the community. Some gestures may be elaborate while others are seemingly small. There is no time frame and there are no rules.
The word COMMUNITY is derived from two Latin roots: ‘munus’ meaning ‘the gift’ and ‘cum’ meaning ‘together among each other.’ Community then can be understood as ‘to give among each other.’ The ultimate goal of this series of actions is to inspire creative thinking and action among one another.
Some of the projects so far have been:
- Local artist meetups
- Childrens community art projects
- Community made intsallations on topics like letting go and hopes/fears
“AN ARTIST IS AN EXPLORER,” – HENRI MATISSE
Art allows for the exploration of materials in an intuitively guided way, for the sake of personal expression and transformation. It also allows for the exploration of communication potentials for sharing knowledge, ideas, emotions and experiences.
My undergraduate and graduate research focused on the physicality of communication and the inseparable relationship of the body and senses in language. Post-colonial and feminist theory underpin my creative work and offer a reclaiming of knowledge through personal, lived experience. The resulting creative works often incorporate found objects and depend on the use of space as installation works that engage the senses.
Mindfulness practices have been vehicles for integrating the language of the body into my life. I advocate for the use of mindfulness as an important creative tool, and also the use of creativity as a profound skill in life.
I work in mixed-media and installation, often with text components. I also facilitate creative community art projects as part of Project 108.
Selected art exhibitions include: Travelling Book Exhibition (Taylor & Beatty Bindery at Etobicoke Ontario, Lunenberg and Wolfville Nova Scotia 2016, Erfrischungsraum at Lucerne, Switzerland, 2015) Project 108, Gestures for Creative Community Building (ongoing/travelling), Art (f)air 2012, Art IG, Hannover Germany; The Artist Project Toronto, Exhibition Place (2011), dig where you stand, Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary (2009); Faculty Exhibition, Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary (2009); Unbound, The Canon Gallery of Art, Western Oregon U (2008); and Four Flights, Rodman Hall Arts Centre, St. Catharine’s (2007).