I am not a potter in the traditional sense of creating functional products. It is hand-building that excites and challenges me. The hand-coiled vessel is the ideal vehicle for me to express myself.
Hand-coiling is a traditional vessel-making technique. It is a time-consuming process that allows me to pay homage to the past as well as negating society's preoccupation with time. The hand-coiled vessels are made of tiny extruded coils, whose design give added meaning to the form. Smooth even lines depict peace, while wavy lines depict emotion.
I am intrigued by the metaphorical association of these hand-coiled vessels with the human figure. For example, both the vessel and the body have a lip, foot, belly, mouth and neck. I associate the interior of the vessel with our own interior thoughts and feelings. I do this by inscribing text into the clay while it is still wet. Sometimes the text is visible and sometimes it is not, like our own thoughts and feelings.
The vessels are objects of personal expression that let me comment on conventional beliefs about female identity and historical accounts that I have come to question. Literary characters, including biblical women, have been a source of inspiration for my work, as have a women's studies class in art history, a Canadian literature class, and a curiosity about things and events that shape one's thinking. The messages that are inscribed into the vessels are inspired by research and reflections on the research.
It took several years just dealing with form before I was able to experiment with organic and figurative vessels. The results have been displayed in several exhibitions.
- The Blue Show in 1998 dealt with aesthetics and functionality, and perhaps was the catalyst that led to a more conceptual aspect in my work.
- In Content (1997 and 1999) I continued to question the cultural and historical aspects that shaped my thinking and therefore my work.
- In The Forgotten Women of the Bible exhibition (2000) I continued with the theme of literature, art, and popular culture as forces that shape our thinking. Intensive research of the biblical women led to a more spiritual aspect, which focused more on other women than me. It beame important to share the spiritual insights of these women with others. The silenced women, the women with no identity, the women with a voice that ought to be heard became the focus. By giving them form, I hope to give them a voice.
- The Path to Mary, (2003, 2004 and 2005) is an art installation that is about others. It is their contribution that has given the art work the meaningful content it was meant to have.
The women I have portrayed in my work have given me spiritual insight, which I enjoy sharing with people throughout workshops, lectures, and retreats.