The Maker

 

I have always been a meaning-maker. I seek to find the meaning of my experiences, the connection between what I do and say and eat and create— and how I feel. I’m a collector, too, of objects and ingredients alike.

 My childhood on the Alabama coast taught me about the power of creativity and spending long, unfettered time outside, imagining. I’m the daughter of a creative mother and a sentimental father.

 

When my brother died unexpectedly four years ago, I witnessed the depth of my father’s sentimentality—and how certain relics of my brother’s life gave him so much meaning and love. I saw the power of a silver quarter Dad had given David. Of a divot fork and golf hats. I saw more clearly than ever how a person’s energy can be infused in an object.

I started out as a private chef and caterer, growing arugula in my Alabama garden—a plant that none of my neighbors had ever heard of. I tested recipes in Mexico for a cookbook author and studied vegan cooking in New York City, all the while attending as many museums as I could. I loved three-dimensional work.  I also loved metal, from the time I was a child opening the card board box of Premium Saltines and transferring them into the metal tin in the cabinet. Metal felt special. Real. Lasting. When I first worked with it and set out to make a belt buckle, I was amazed at how malleable it was.

Today, my time in the studio is much like my time in the kitchen. Slow, considered, exploratory. I gather ingredients and spread them out. I experiment with textures and colors. I imagine the wearer and what is most important to them—and how I can express it. I delight myself with found, antique materials. Repurposing them, giving them a different life in a lovely statement piece that speaks a new story. 

Having had an image in my head for many years of Santa Fe, I eventually moved there 19 years ago. I grew food, worked in my studio, lived in an adobe home with my ceramic artist husband Matt, practiced yoga and hiked as often as possible with our dog, Jack. In March of 2017 Matt was offered a three year Artist’s Residency at Penland School of Craft so in September of 2017 we packed up and moved to the mountains of North Carolina.

I gather elements and ingredients that appeal to me. Stones, metal pieces, old books of handmade paper, precious objects.  I enter my studio and there I explore and experiment with shapes, textures, colors and images. I think of the wearer and what has meaning for them. How can I serve them in the pieces that I make? It might be wood from a special black walnut tree 200 miles away, or an engraved word that has special meaning to them, or a coin found under a porch. I give it thought as I hike and experiment with textures and colors at my bench.

These days I am always getting reminders to slow down. I get daily signs of humanity. The fact that as humans we are not on this earth forever, our time is limited. I ask myself how I can make the time here more beautiful, more meaningful and how I can support connection among each of us, as well as with something larger than ourselves. I ask myself how my work can honor, a person, an event or oneself. I ask how can I help moments really matter? How can I make things extra special and meaningful for the wearer? How can I support all of us in remembering our true nature? How can I support us in listening to the callings of our hearts? It is my aspiration for my pieces to help the wearer to have more peace, love, compassion, beauty and healing in life.