This is a statement about who I am, how I work and the language I speak. I am a printmaker and book artist. I work also as a storyteller and puppeteer, a co-director of Catbird (on the Yadkin) Press and an advocate for disability issues. I am a parent, and I love to garden. I love poetry and language and am drawn to works on paper that use both words and images. Disability impacts all aspects of my life. It is part of my identity and as such is the lens through which I see the world. Living beautifully with a disability requires that I claim and redefine the words beauty and grace, fragility and dependence. While my work is not “about” disability, my work and life reflect that identity and my search for its meaning. I want to create works that are beautiful in their craft, and affirmative in their message. I believe that making things is simply a way to give form to how we live and how we understand the world. It is a way to parse our experiences, live them again, understand them anew, and give them away. My language is primarily printmaking, books and works on paper. By making marks and removing them, I rethink where I have been, and hopefully reveal something to myself that I didn’t already know. I love the scraping, erasing, reworking and layering of images. I work with collage, in both my prints and books. I use glue and thread to layer and connect the pieces of the image. The medium itself is part of my process, it is the language I speak.
I heard a statement attributed to the writer Mary Oliver, that the only choice we really make in our lives is the choice between despair and joy. As an artist, the choice to work at all is a move toward joy, or perhaps, at least, toward hope. In giving my own experiences visual form, I live them again, understand them anew, and give them away.
As to the question of what I make and why I make it, I will say that all of the works are a combination of etchings, woodcuts, and are often in artist book form. All use handmade papers and combine words and images, with the hope that they are clearly emotionally affirmative, even if the imagery is difficult. They are figurative, though often ambiguous in terms of gender, race or location.
I make prints because I love my craft. I keep working because what we make affirms what we hope for in the world.