When I was 8 I submitted a “draw me” drawing to a contest from the back of a matchbook. My mother sent it for me. I didn’t win. It stopped me from trying for a long time. Then, in middle school and high school, I participated in the required art classes and fell in love. I fell in love with the overall process of making art. I wasn’t very good at it but I was wholly enthusiastic. I loved the talents of my fellows. There were friends and compatriots, some extremely talented and some, like myself, not so much. We collaborated on projects. We brainstormed. We thought in ways we hadn't before and we found more effective ways to get the job done because we didn't know we couldn't. My seeming lack of talent didn't stop me. The joy of creativity took hold and practice developed skills. My talents revealed themselves. My ability to think independently, to make decisions based on the skills I developed in public school and college art classes, plus time and life's experiences, honed my humanity and gave me strength. I developed resources, and, yes, even talents. I got better and better and was finally able to express my opinions through my art. My opinions were strong ones and I found that art could hold them, all of them. My art delights me to the very core of my being. My art holds a space for the ridiculous and frivolous, for the anguish and pain. It holds, and ultimately soothes, the savagery I feel about war, collateral damage, vicious cruelty in the name of gods, and the barely relenting imbalance between women & men, peoples of different races, or different socioeconomic classes.
I am a storyteller. I have been working on the same stories, in one form or another, over the course of three decades. They are stories about the beauty and horrors of humanity. Clay is the perfect medium for my work because it has elements of both strength and fragility. Clay can locate cultures within history, through archeological (carbon 14) dating, so it well reflects the themes in my art.
The stories I tell are not limited to my biography, but they are enriched by it. My life has been bracketed by wars. As a young child we were living in Hawaii near Pearl Harbor when we were bombed by the Japanese at the start of World War II. My father enlisted in the military as our family evacuated Hawaii. Now, after Korea and Vietnam, I am witnessing the casualties of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is my belief that we need to address loss and memory as a nation, as well as on a personal level. I offer a place in my work that invites active participation. My art is meant to be touched. To hold my ceramic skulls, hearts, and bones—tangible representations of the fragility of life—is to begin a dialogue about possibility, fear and joy. This is how my story is told.