After completing my first quilt in 1998 with the help of a pattern casually purchased while on vacation in Sisters, Oregon, little did I know I would likely spend the rest of my life creating original quilts of my own. Moreover, I had unwittingly embarked on a journey to mend early losses and discover pathways to beauty and meaning through quilt making. While my inspiration is rooted in traditional quilts, my quilts integrate many other interests including architecture, nature, current events, spirituality, music, literature and memory.
My quilt career would not have been possible in a vacuum, rather it is carried along by way of much serendipity, grace and generosity. In my early years of quilt making, fabric shop owners and hand quilters became and remain an essential part my development as a quilt maker. My work has thus far taken place and has been recognized largely within the conventional quilt community, yet my fine arts background nonetheless infuses my work, and my intentions for it.
Born with a cleft lip and palate in St Louis, Missouri, I experienced numerous corrective surgeries and hospital stays from my first day after birth well into my twenties. This birth anomaly also resulted in the permanent separation from my birth family. Consequently raised up-river by my adoptive family in Quincy, Illinois, I would return to St. Louis for my college education at Washington University (Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography - 1990). Many addresses later, a theme of flow and movement is still my constant.
I translated my personal story into the production of two videos, "The Road Home" (2012), and "A Piece of Me" (2013). These reflections on my unexpected quilt making career have served as powerful vehicles for sharing my work with a wider audience.
Fall of 2012 brought the great pleasure of being included in the exhibit "The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quilters from 21st-Century America." This exhibition was commissioned by the US Embassy Beijing, China and toured six venues in China and one in North America during 2012-13. The honor was further realized when I received an invitation from the US Embassy, South Arts, and Arts Midwest to make a ten-day visit to Shanghai, China along with five others, including Gee's Bend quilter, Louisiana Bendolph. A life changing experience, it is one that continues to unfold.
With each new piece, I celebrate quilt making as a perfect metaphor for an imperfect, but well-lived life.
“Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years. And for this reason, some old things are lovely warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.”
- D. H. Lawrence