Each series starts with an experience, often a memory. Making the work infuses the past with the present; the story changes each time it is rendered. This recursiveness is particularly fitting at this moment in my life, when I have moved back to the community where I grew up to help care for my father who has a progressively worsening dementia. At this point, the stories he can hold on to are those that he’s committed to paper, written in earlier years. My father no longer has the words or symbols to recast his memories into meaning for the present or future. Now any joy is immediate—watching the moon rise over the mountains, a bright red bird flitting, a child playing—and the loss, so enduring. It’s hard to hold these two things at once. I go to my studio to arrange and rearrange my own symbols, the ceramic forms that make up my assemblages, to help make sense of this experience and others.
I build my geometric shapes through a combination of slab building and slip-casting. After bisquing several kiln-loads, I set the forms out around my studio, combining and recombining until I’m satisfied. I apply a cold finish and then adhere the pieces to shaped backing board. Built-in hardware enables each work to float about 1 inch from the wall. Painted backs create an ethereal glow suggesting a light from within.