July 2010


I have decided that I am a compulsive cutter of paper. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has actually seen my work. It’s pretty obvious from the go get that collage and paper is a pretty big part of my work. What people may not understand is just how big and why.

One of my biggest thrills as a kid was to find unruled drawing paper. Since my Dad was and still is a lawyer, we had plenty of yellow pads of lined paper around but the unlined stuff was much harder to come by. This was back in the day, too, that you didn’t have Office Depot to go buy a ream of paper. I usually had to settle for some kind of freebie pad of paper that we got from somewhere with some kind of ad on it. So when I found paper that was pure, virginal, void of any and all marks, I was in heaven!

Ironically, now I use paper for their inherent markings and symbols and the ideas and ideal that I think they represent. But what hasn’t changed is my need to collect, draw on, cut up and preserve the paper.  If you don’t believe me, here’s a picture of my cutting station in my studio along with the two giant drawers in my flat files that keep all my precious “bitties” as I call them. I am really concentrating on sewing pattern paper and their instructions right now, along with my new interest in the actual packaging with images of the completed patterns. The patterns for me represent some kind of fabricated idea of womanhood and a path that I was supposed to take but didn’t. I love their practicality and the fact that a pattern would help you turn fabric into something but I feel an internal rebellion into thinking that somehow the pattern creates multiples of the same thing. I am constantly thinking about all of the layers of what these patterns mean and how they connect me to the women in my family and women in general.

So to continue to process through these discoveries I manipulate, cut up, mark on, tear, stain and soak paper with wax. I try to reassemble the paper into some new and unique usefulness in my own mind. I want to make them into something new without obliterating what they were to begin with.

I think there is something precious in paper. We use it to send love letters. We make to do lists. Well, some of us do.  We sign legal documents made of paper. We doodle, we draw and we dream on paper. I’d like to think that by including paper in my work I am including all of the history that has touched that paper into my art work. So, I confess right here that I am a compulsive cutter and collager and if there’s a twelve step for that don’t bother inviting me.

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I was lucky enough to have four amazing women in an impromptu printmaking session last week.  We were working with carborundum collagraphs and monotype. Since it was only two days, we really tried to pack in as much as possible, with almost everyone bringing their lunch day two so that they could work straight through lunch.

It’s funny when you have such a short period of time to work.  Sometimes it works in my favor – the pressure makes me focus and be efficient. Other times, I cave to the pressure to produce and get very little done and feel quite frustrated, which usually leads me to call a friend and talk about getting a job at either Costco or Home Depot.  This was one of those times. I needed to get a commission done and I just wasn’t feeling it. It could have been because the series is about 4 years old. I’ve moved on and it just doesn’t excite me anymore. I also didn’t really feel giddy about the color palette, I remember that I made the work in the early spring and since it’s summer the palette didn’t feel right.

My friend and fellow artist Maite was in class and I think the morning of the second day she felt about the same.  She asked me to step outside and see if I could find her mojo, that it had mysteriously disappeared from the day before. I suggested that maybe my mojo left with her mojo to go get a cocktail?  In the end, I decided to put on some Sinatra and see if that didn’t cure it. By track 2 or 3 I was reminiscing about my honeymoon, the day we sailed around the Dog Islands wing on wing and anchored off that private island that drew the attention of the security guards that interrupted our turkey sandwich lunch….

Anyway before you know it we were both back “on” and working with less angst, especially Maite, who produced out some super amazing work by the end of the day. Was it Sinatra that brought back the mojo? I can’t say for sure, but the next time I get stuck you better believe old blue eyes and I are going to be belting out “I’ve got the World on a String” at full blast!