I grew up in a garden; nature has always fascinated me. My father nurtured roses. He wore a flower in his lapel every workday. My mother’s passion was a large bed of amaryllis: our yard overflowed with giant azaleas, blue Hydrangeas with heads the size of dinner plates, and a majestic Live Oak tree. Mardi Gras imprinted a child’s imagination. The clay fantasies I create bring me close to family memories and the gardens of my childhood—intentionally not botanically correct; a flash of remembrance.
We always had something blooming, and the house filled with blossoms. Those constructions were never formal, but instead always thoughtful. My mother and grandmother encouraged me to place my simple arrangements with theirs. Gifts from our garden found their way to friends and neighbors in times of sadness and celebration; brought to teachers on special occasions.
My aunt and uncle lived in Japan for several years. My eyes widened, and thoughts swirled as unusual gifts arrived. When she returned to New Orleans, Japanese floral arrangements joined traditional Southern bouquets. These minimalist arrangements with disciplined form were new and exciting, presenting strong lines and textures. They influenced my thoughts on beauty. A single flower is revered and given honor.
Currently clay is my focus. Clay is earth: It presents technical issues. It has memory factored into construction. Less forgiving than painting, clay presents more challenges for me than work on paper or canvas. No matter how careful the clay construction, its final moments are out of sight with some factors out of the maker’s control—just as in life. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise. This wisdom is applicable to our own lives. Care and love expended on broken, scarred, or shattered pieces should also encourage us to respect what is damaged and scarred; vulnerable and imperfect; starting with ourselves and those around us. Reflecting on this philosophy, work is intentionally left with imperfections—sometimes raw—or what may seem unfinished.
My studio is in the Historic Highland Avenue area of Birmingham, Alabama; across from Rhodes Park. Gallery space is at Ground Floor Contemporary—just steps from the new Rotary Trail, a pedestrian greenway connecting several areas of our booming new downtown Birmingham. There is construction all around us as our city grows its lively cultural center with a robust arts community. The gallery has a new exhibition every month with curated exhibits of work from our member artists and selected guest artists.