The culture I was raised in values a do-it-yourself approach that I call ‘Build Everything’. These ideals have directly influenced my life and my work. As a child, I helped raise and preserve our food. We built our house with notched beams harvested from our forest. I sewed outfits for myself and built driftwood forts at the beach. In every aspect of my life, I was hands-on, ‘building everything’.
Last winter, I recognized this as a lifestyle. I have a tendency to run back and forth across the line between Arts and Crafts, and walking a line can become tiresome. It has been seen as a weakness ... that, for success, it would be better to stick with one medium. I cherish it, however, as a strength that allows me to approach a project from many points of view, drawing on many different experiences.
For me, visual aspects are driven by key words: Beauty, Truth, Fantasy, Organic, Psychedelic, Geometric, and Symbolism. These come through as patterns and systems, and I enjoy the disequilibrium my details inspire.
My concepts are often activated by the combination of the weird and beautiful truths of Science and Math that attempt to understand and describe nature. I use these ‘truths’ as a starting point for my own visual fictional stories, never letting the ’facts’ of the day get in the way of a great story. I guess you could say that my sculpture work is heading towards Science Fiction. There’s a darkness, a roughness to nature that I feel we need to stay connected with. Nature is 360 degrees of ever-changing scenery, original every time, with a rhythm pulsing from its mathematical disposition. We find comfort in these Fractals; the arrangement in the eternity of our matter. Establish a visual pattern and then break it. Lull the eye and then challenge it. I like to melt people’s brains with beauty and information.
I do a lot of searching for clues in my journey to the finished product; in the items I construct, the articles of clothing I sew, and in the poems and stories I write. Really, each piece, each sculpture is a body of work in its own right, when you consider the scale in which the tale has been produced. These side projects help me identify a story for the work and build a visual personality. I search for the truth through visual imaging until I find the feeling I’m looking for and it becomes a real object. Every day in the studio I work towards a truth, shaping it from fibres, cardboard, wood, light, and steel. No medium is off limits.
Technically, the work is often influenced by my lifelong love of craft. Craft has often been a soft respite from the hard carbon edges of steel, the bitter tang of grinder dust, and the struggle for perfection in a material that is tough to convince into anything. Mild Steel is a medium that, in its practicality, is sold in forms that encourage square construction, that value the ninety degree angle as perfection. Craft, though, supplies solutions that bring the feminine curves out of the steel and allow me to work through concepts of texture, line, curve, and colour depth on a sometimes smaller but always less expensive scale. This way, when I reach my metal studio, only details must be revealed, details which have been approached from many angles in my craft studio. I’m mucking in familiar ground.