My art is in transition. I’ve taken up residence in the intersection of several fiber arts: hooked rugs, embroidery, tatting, knitting, among others. I have come to understand more about the ways in which fiber art can express issues at the core of my identity: the youngest of seven, a nurse, a woman, a mother. Historically feminine art methods seem well suited to express feminine life and work experiences.
My works have moved from a series of projects generated from perpetually shifting attention to work centered on the theme of bringing a voice to the work of nursing. I began the study and professional practice of art in the MFA program at the University of Delaware in fall 2022. My plan was to explore the use of color and design in new ways in hooked rugs. At the same time, as I began another semester of teaching undergraduate nurses, I witnessed nurses and others return to pre-pandemic practices. The idea of picking up where we left off, as if the pandemic was a mere speed bump, became unacceptable. The opportunity to express my frustration, concerns, and hopes through art in the MFA program became a gift I had not expected.
I affix memories of the essential elements of life to my early rugs: three-dimensional representations of animals, plants, Celtic symbols, abstract impressions of landscapes and topographical maps of Iceland and Mount Desert Island. The layering of geometry on impressionistic images that I create juxtaposes certainty and uncertainty, measurement and abstraction, boundaries and expanses.
My artistic sensibility honors the history of a craft that furnished a home with economical humility. In the early North American tradition, strips from worn woolen suits and skirts served as the medium to warm the floors and cover the beds. I build on this antique practice and others through modern interpretations and colorful expressions.