When I shared the tour of my abstract paintings
the other day, I mentioned my collage tour would
vintage book pages, vintage catalogs, acrylics, and latex on canvas
I began creating them in 2008 when I experienced
a creative storm within my soul which led to:
>leaving my work as an academic tutor,
>becoming a professional writer,
>making art every single day.
Catch My Drift was one of my first mixed media
collages on canvas (sold at a Chicago boutique)
exploring my longing for understanding, connection,
and wisdom…it was an intensely lonely time for me.
Here is a mini Catch My Drift on my
sister’s bathroom shelf with Kiss.
Emma (above) was a collaboration with an artist
painting fashionable watercolor
illustrations at the time, and I still love
the happy color combination of
cherry pink and turquoise.
I created a ton of these 8″x10″ tonal pieces
on canvas, and they looked great massed at a
boutique where they shared space with
beautiful clothing and jewelry.
Most of them carried a simple message,
as I struggled to make sense of the
complexities of my daily life.
One day I ran out of canvas, and discarded vintage book
covers from the library became my new obsession.
I use the pages to layer and create
pieced together poetry for greater expression
in the work.
I love vintage bird illustrations, and these bird
mixed media collages remain very special to me
even though they were sold to collectors.
The above piece lives in Seattle, and the crosses
are felted wool made by me.
The book cover pieces can be mounted and framed or displayed
on a table like this:
I love how they look mounted on black linen in
vintage frames…the following pieces were
created as I considered the Beatitudes,
and I incorporated raw silk, egg shells
(from a friend’s chicken eggs), and felted wool
“For they will see God” is a reference to a Beatitude
Here you can see some detail with the gorgeous
von gorgeous light blue egg shells.
The work took on even more importance for me
in 2009 when I experienced an emotional breakdown.
I had never known such a dark night of the soul,
and themes from my spiritual journey
surfaced in the work.
Specifically, the themes of
seeing, healing, brokenness and suffering.
Safety pins begin to appear in every piece
and so does poetry which I create in a very
random way: I first cut quantities of words
from vintage books without regard for anything.
When I have a large pile, I simply begin piecing
together phrases and sentences and only incorporate
the words and fragments from that particular pile.
A GREAT CHANGE
DOWN FROM HEAVEN
AN END TO THE DISPUTE
TO SUFFER AND DIE
IN REDEMPTION FOR MANY
COMES SUCH A SOUL
HIS VAST PURPOSES
IN THE MORNING SUNLIGHT
OF HIS PROVIDENCE
ALL THESE COME
STRUGGLING TO ESCAPE
BY THE LOVE OF CHRIST
AND PUT THEMSELVES
AND STAY THERE.
I hope the work doesn’t
put you off if you practice another
faith or no faith at all because it is
intended only to be a sort of
window into my soul, and my
spiritual container happens
to be Christianity.
As far as religion goes, all I really have is
I am broken, but I am enough,
and something holy within me
calls me beautiful and leads me
to notice: that everything belongs,
love is stronger than death,
and a force whom I call God
is constantly making
all things new.
vintage book pages, linen, silk, safety pins, and acrylics on vintage book cover.
I DIDN’T KNOW,
COMING OUT OF SLEEP
BUT NOT NERVOUSLY
LIKE A SLEEPWALKER
HALF OUT OF BREATH,
HIS FACE SURPRISED ME
A VOICE SAID
INTO THE LIGHT,
LIFTED OUT OF
Ride is a very special piece I kept for myself
because of its great intimacy and personal meaning.
You may notice Osa Johnson on the zebra in this
vintage photo I used for the collage as it comes
from an old book a gazillion interior designers own.
I discovered antique prints of illustrations
poking fun at the ridiculously high hair trend in Europe
at the time of Marie Antoinette and layered
them digitally with fun modern sentiments,
crowns, one-off humor and poetry.
SCHISM IN THE SOUL
I DO, I DO
I LOVE VULGARITY,
THE WEALTH OF
FRANTIC LEXICOGRAPHICAL WHISPERS,
THE VEHICLE OF LANGUAGE
MENTALLY SLUGGISH JEWELS
THE SHEER MASTERFUL SAVIOR
OF COMPREHENSIBLE VULGAR.
I even tried my hand at telling weird little tales
about the high haired ladies:
SHE KNEW HER NAME,
PERHAPS STILL TOO YOUNG TO REALIZE IT.
THE LITTLE ONE CRIED,
HAD NO PEACE.
VERY ANXIOUS ABOUT FALLING,
THE LITTLE FLEDLING PLACED LUXURIOUS FEATHERS
ON TOP OF HER SWEET HEAD.
TO FLY WELL ENOUGH TO BE SAFE FROM KITES,
SHE WAS OBVIOUSLY WITHOUT SUCCESS.
SHE FLEW NOT.
THIS HAPPENED TWO OR THREE TIMES.
ON THE FOURTH DAY,
THE HUNGRY WEAVER COLONY HAD ARRIVED
AND ROOTED GENTLY IN THE NEST.
THE PROBLEM SOLVED ITSELF.
THE WEAVER BIRDS OUT OF REACH,
TWITTERING, FRIENDLY BUILDING NESTS AND PATCHING UP,
APPEARED TO ADOPT THE ORPHAN.
THEY GUIDED HER INTO QUIET SAFETY.
It is always a bonus to find discarded book covers
with the library slip pocket still intact, and I love
layering on vintage costume jewelry when it
makes sense (which is…um…always!).
AS IT WERE
EYES WERE NOT SHUT
AT THE VERY MOMENT
WITH THE FULL GLOW
OF MY VITALITY
TO EXPOSE FOR ME
THROUGH A DOOR
WE BEHOLD FROM A DISTANCE
WITHOUT FEAR OR TREMBLING,
WITH OPEN AND SERENE EYES
THEY ARE ALL BEASTS
THEY ARE NOT PERFECT NEIGHBORS,
I experimented with printing my digitally altered
antique prints of high-squirrel-haired ladies on
linen and canvas dropcloth.
Shit I Forgot My Mascara
is one of my personal favorites.
AT HER BOLDNESS
HE WAS PLEASED
HE CHOSE HER
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL
NOW HER WISH
WAS ONLY TO MATTER,
TO SEE HAPPY
HIDING IN THE DARKNESS
TO CHOOSE COURAGE
AND THE TRUTH
I experimented with the textural beauty of
old book pages.
I packaged these art pieces in brown
kraft paper with the original bookplate,
a raw Dupioni silk ribbon, twine,
and old vintage shoe clips and brooches.
The collage below was a gift for Kate Schelter,
and it has more of a modern feel I like.
I also experimented with digital photography
and mixing modern feeling abstract collage
with text and vintage monograms.
THIS IS A FUNNY WORLD
YOU, YOU, YOU!
TO SEE YOU QUITE UNEXPECTEDLY
FRIEND, EVERYTHING INSIDE THIS PERSON
TIMIDLY ROSE UP
THROUGH THE WAVES
YES, FONDLY GLOWED
RATHER LIKE FLAMING COMFORT
WRAPPED IN WHISPERS
UPON MY SOUL.
IT WAS THE SAFEST TIME
AND RETURNED AFFECTION.
AND OVERWHELMING US WITH JOY
TO LEAVE BROKEN BUT WISER,
WE WERE REASSURED
WE WOULD NEVER MOVE
TO THE OTHER SIDE
LOST OR ALONE
Some of the vintage pages I use come
from old prayer books I have collected
for many years.
a collected pewter brooch decorates a collage and can still be worn
In 2012, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer,
I began making collages on handmade paper with
pink silk, camel hued cashmere, antique lace
found in Paris, safety pins, and old French documents.
I commissioned the ‘loved and chosen’ rubber stamp.
In addition to the feminine collages,
I began to make these chains
(with my collection of religious amulets)
during a chapter when
my own diagnosis with
BRCA2 mutation led
to deepened humility
and a need for courage.
These collages on canvas were made as gifts.
I incorporated suede leather from a jacket
belonging to a close friend who passed away,
heart shaped stones gathered from the
Mediterranean Sea, and vintage costume jewelry.
Still with the artist?
That was heavy with heartfullness, I know.
Thanks for touring with Little Miss Sunshine,
(Ha!) who hopes to create new works very soon.
Peace to you right where you are.