I am fascinated with the relationship between people and objects. We usually feel our bodies are so different than stones, refrigerators, or hats. I find this strange and interesting.
I think furniture is a great place to poke at how we feel about this dynamic. Chairs, tables and sofas exist in relationship to the human body. Their shapes reflect our shapes. The pattern of their existence arises an extension of our own pattern of being.
Beds are the proportion of the human body and doorways have grown larger as people have evolved to be taller. But it also works the other direction; teeth exist because of carrots, eyes because of light, wimpy feet because of shoes. It’s a fluid dynamic, back and forth, where even the idea back and forth becomes blurred.
When looking at Twilight Space Shape, which bit is “alive'“, which bit is object? Can one starts to smear those relationships? Is the shape so different from the chair? Is the chair so different than the room? You get the idea…
I get a similar funny feeling when I consider clothing. Clothes are an extension of the pattern of the body. What is the edge of “myself”, the material of my being? In making Twilight Space Shape, I used the same fabric for pieces that may feel more skin-like and areas that use stitching and buttons, feeling more like clothing. What is skin? What is clothing? Where is the edge?
Like in the other Space Shapes, there are burbley-gurbley shapes that feel lively and growing, but also uncomfortable for some people. It is funny, I always find these shapes endearing. Where is your pancreas? Poor pancreas, poor spinal fluid…. Don’t you think it’s bizarre that we daily talk to duodenums and just ignore that fact?
Through tying, winding, and wrapping, the Space Shapes take on an organic, lively form. The 3-dimensional companions to the Plane Shapes, these shapes express the skin, and what’s underneath, too. Floating loose in free space, they are exposed and vulnerable.
These forms feel so much like portraits to me. I stitched tiny references to clothing for most of these pieces. Instead of feeling “of the form”, as in Twilight Space Shape, these pieces wear their clothes awkwardly, creating a sweet tone of effort and trying. I find these pieces endearing, but they also express a paradox in the tension expressed in their form, the tautness of their skin, and the overall confrontational roughness of the main forms as opposed to their sweet and staid clothing forms.
We ARE bodies. Because of this, even though we aren’t aware of it most of the time, we have intimate knowledge of the workings of life and matter, energy and movement.
This is how we
don’t fall down stairs,
know by sight alone which cookie is crunchier,
can spot a sad person walking from 50 feet,
know that a long, low rectangle is not the shape of laughing.
I am interested in all this knowing. It is this curiosity that drives the Space Shape investigation.
At this point you might be thinking, “What the heck?! These are just a bunch of black blobs!” True, but stick with me here. Tiny nuance tells us alot about the feeling, the reality, and rhythm of a static form. By removing words and narrative elements, even color or texture, the entire “story” has to be told simply through the viewers interpretation of the energy within and between the forms. These pieces have been a wonderful, slow meditation to make and have pushed my own personal intimacy with the idea of shape.
I seem to have a real interest in inside/outside/allsides. When looking through drawings and illustrations, several emerge along this theme. Here are a few!
The Tough Cases
The Tough Cases are a series of very large graphite drawings, telling stories about the nature of illness.
All our narratives, thought patterns, and visions can become embedded in our beings. These drawings are looking for a way to see the stories. By understanding our body as an amalgamation of pattern and story, we can see ourselves in a new light and get closer to our own sense of truth.
Pictures and Objects that Tell Stories
I love to draw. As a child, I remember discovering the magic of making something REAL. I still experience that thrill when I see an image emerge. Who will it be?
All of the work here represents storytelling. Whether a stand-alone image, a piece from a book proposal, or a puppet, all these pieces are about stories in the most “once upon a time” sense.
Words That Tell Stories
Sometimes visual work can feel so very noisy. Every once in a while, my brain is just to loud and even moving my body feels like overwhelm. At those times, I love putting black words on white paper. I close my eyes and see inside.
I write poems and notes, stories and images. I even wrote a truly ridiculous novel, all about designers and artists working on a ridiculous project. I have been sitting on that for a year now, which is dumb. I have a goal of getting it available on Amazon soon for anyone interested in beetles and pastries. Aren’t you excited?!
Ah, Couchy…. I have an absolute fascination with toys and the world of children. What turns on the senses? What is deep learning?
In 2012, I began a small toy enterprise, The Couchy Empire. Basically, this means I designed tons of toys, sent them out to be sold at shops, and did special commissions for people’s homes. The Couchy team still gets a new member now and then, although it is not the present focus of my work.
Couchy emerged, like other veins of my work, from my fascination with objects and my confusion about why some things are friends/alive/beings and other things are objects.
Enjoy a little sample of Couchy!
Also of note, my work with Couchy led me to do research on toy design and the history of children’s culture. I have developed and taught two levels of college curriculum in The History of Toys and Children’s Culture as well as a Toy Design studio class. Isn’t that fun? Totally!