ARTIST STATEMENT

 

After serving two years with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa, from 1969 to 1971, I returned to New York City to take a range of classes in spinning, dyeing and weaving, inspired by all the textiles I had seen produced in Africa. It wasn’t until I lived in Europe from 1988 to 1997 that I learned my great, great grandfather had come to Pennsylvania in 1871 from a small village in northeastern Germany that had been established to support local weavers. During the l980s, I studied Gobelin tapestry weaving techniques that enabled me to produce handwoven portraits of people I had encountered during my Peace Corps service, including Tuaregs in a market in Niger; an Algerian truck driver and his wife who welcomed me to their home for couscous after a trip across the Sahara Desert; men and women in a market in northern Togo; and a laughing Togolese child who entertained me mimicking local personalities. While living in Austria for nine years, I wove portraits of neighboring farmers. When I returned to the United States in l997, I wove portraits of Rhode Islanders, such as a little girl at the Hope Street Farmers’ Market and a grandmother tressing her grandson’s hair on the porch of her Hope Street home. After a second time serving in the Peace Corps from 2006 to 2008 in Morocco, I again wanted to capture moments shared with people I met in my rural community. Because women in some southern Moroccan villages do not want their faces represented, I chose to weave a woman with head scarf carrying a basket of animal fodder she had collected one morning. I also wove a young girl doing her homework with a TV remote by her side. If the little girl stays in school, her life’s path may be far different than the woman hauling a basket of animal food. I’m always wondering how life might change for the people in my tapestries. In recent years, I wove an Amish boy hanging clothes in an area of Pennsylvania where I grew up. I also wove the image of a man plastering a stucco wall in Matera in southern Italy. Using my photographs for inspiration, I weave portraits that I hope will raise questions for each viewer. There is a moment in each tapestry when it comes to life for me. It may take 6 months to a year to finish a tapestry but that moment when it comes to life is why I look forward to my next project.

Exhibitions:

Block Island Airport Gallery, Rhode Island, USA

RISCA Fellowship Exhibition at Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery – Rhode Island, USA (flyer)

Atrium Gallery at the First Unitarian Church – Rhode Island, USA

Providence Art Club – Rhode Island, USA

Krause Gallery – Rhode Island, USA

INOPERAbLE Gallery – Vienna, Austria

Attleboro Museum – Massachusetts, USA

Hamilton House – Rhode Island, USA

Laurelmead, Adult Cooperative Living – Rhode Island, USA

United Nations Headquarters – Vienna, Austria

Studio Beate von Harten – Vienna, Austria

Argo Gallery – Vienna, Austria

Studio Semrad – Wolkersdorf, Austria

Wolkersdorf Castle – Wolkersdorf, Austria

Austrian Embassy – Ottawa, Canada

American Women’s Club of the Taunus – Oberursel, Germany

Frankfurt International School – Frankfurt, Germany

French Cultural Center – Nairobi, Kenya