I retired from education as a school counselor and began my second career with an Expressive Arts Certification from Appalachian State in 2007. This was followed by an International Certification as a Registered Expressive Arts Consultant Educator in 2009.
My art making stems from my passionate belief that art is healing, creates community and builds connections. In my position as Director of Community Outreach for the Turchin Center for Visual Arts at Appalachian State University I design and implement art making experiences for the underserved populations in our region”. This includes the Hispanic community, the homeless, the African American community, senior citizens, at risk youth and disabled adults. Our newest program in Wilkes County works with children in foster care ages 3-17. Art making offers opportunity and possibility to experience the creative spirit that resides in each of us. I create and hold the space for magic to happen.
As an artist I play with color, texture, shape and design in clay, collage, acrylics and alcohol inks. Art making for me is “free play” an opportunity to be completely present in the moment, immersed in the materials at hand and surrendering to the process. I have learned to let go of the voice that whispers, “but you are not an artist” and embrace the process rather than focus on the product. I allow myself to take risks, to improvise and to see mistakes as opportunities. I embrace the surprises and allow the process to flow.
Through a workshop at the Turchin Center in 2015 with Nancy Brittle, my horizons exploded. I began playing with cardboard, packing materials, egg cartons, brown paper bags, toilet paper rolls and later blueboard to create faux metal collages. In every trash can, dumpster, construction site and recycling bin possibility abounds. Roadside cardboard molded and shaped naturally by the rain and snow offers its own inspiration.
In creating faux metal collage, I begin by altering the cardboard or paper bags by soaking them in warm water allowing them to separate into layers. I then rip, tear and cut materials into shapes. There is always a sense of play. The leaves in “Windswept”, landed on my workspace on the deck and I wondered “what if” …. a new series was born. Similarly, honeysuckle vines destined for the barn pile inspired “Silver Threads”.
My art and my life are founded in my childhood on the farm … surrounded by the color, texture and smells of nature. The feel of wet dew of early morning as I fed the calves and the warmth of soil on my bare feet as I pulled weeds in the garden … these things continue to inspire me.
I wonder what inspires you … I am available to create a memory collage for you or to “hold the space” as you create your own.