Kozo, the bark of a Japanese mulberry tree, is the main substance of my mixed media sculptures and installations. For thousands of years this bark has been harvested annually (the tree is cut leaving a base that grows back quickly), and made into an extremely strong and beautiful paper. The natural beauty of the white paper is exciting and mysterious in itself. Sometimes I pigment or dye this characteristically long, shiny, translucent fiber, which creates an intense and integral color. Often the paper is stretched like skin over an armature of reed, cane or bamboo. The ancientness of this process continues to be seductive.
The structures and installations are the result of looking intimately at and absorbing parts of life; the small things can be astonishing and overlooked. Often this analysis results in dissecting and exaggerating observations. Making the work then becomes intuitive. Hopefully the exaggerated components inspire scrutiny and thought in the observer, which will bring the forms out of the realm of any specific reality.
This show is a journey. I have had many transformative journeys in my life. I have traveled, hiked, and lived in wonderful places. I am fascinated by process: I want to know how the roof is thatched, how the hut is made, where the natural dye comes from, how the hive or nest is constructed. These basic constructions are at the root of who we are and what we can do: all so very sophisticated in their simplicity. These forms also speak of community, of building together and using that which is found in our own environments. Yarn is made from local sheep, yak, or other indigenous animals. Dye stuff is picked from local fields; bamboo, palms, reeds, redwoods are used to build homes. Rope and paper come from hemp, flax, kozo, agave — this list is long. I am not dissing progress or dismissing contemporary materials, just lauding what is at our fingertips and will, hopefully, always be available for us to return to. I am observing life as a maker, an artist. My observations become internalized and then manifest themselves in abstractions that can have many interpretations, for myself as well as my audience.