This was all an accident?


I often hear the question, “How did you start doing this?”   I like the recognition that Paper Tapestry is different.  Believe it or not, this technique was created by accident, the result of play.  

In 2007 a small group of artists (a writer, photographer, weaver, poet) and I started working through Julia Cameron’s book “Artist Way”. When we completed the work of the book we started devising creative exercises for each other.  The one I created asked us to list five things (person, place, idea, thing, other) that just made us sing, feel good.  Then to create a list of five things that made our skin crawl, made us feel awful. Then we had to put one pair of items together (one good, one bad) in an art piece.  Until this point I had been doing a lot of paper boxes and art books.   I chose to create some quick paper collages to create my images.  

I took papers that I used for boxes to create an image of my garden I had just designed and planted and an image of devastation in the refuge camps of Darfur.  My mom was a weaver so I decided to weave the pieces together, but instead of cutting the warp and weft as straight lines, I cut them in contours.  When I think back on this choice, I don’t remember a “why?”.  I was just playing, exploring, doing things differently on purpose.  When I wove them together, the image of Darfur disappeared and my garden remained.  The thought that went through my head that I only see the world through what I know.  Will I ever really understand the horrors of Darfur?

A week later I went to Santa Barbara with my husband for a get away.  We walked the weekly Saturday art fair.  After we had enjoyed it, we sat on a bench and my husband asked me what did all of the pieces I was struck by have in common.  It took me a while, but then I said, “They were big!” It was interesting.  I have always worked small.  Maybe I should work big.  But at what?  

I went home and looked at my experiment and again saw the revelation of my garden, but then I saw more.  I saw landscapes in those contours.  Maybe the mountains of Santa Barbara triggered that.  Who knows!  I was soon on my way of creating my first Paper Tapestry piece with a seascape from Santa Barbara.  It would be a long time before I coined the phrase Paper Tapestry, and longer before I thought I might sell them.  But that is another story.

Watching Water

I watch water a lot.  I hike by water, I look at the flow, the color, the movement, the light of water.  I study how it moves around rocks, slides past the muddy banks, slips into sand.  I feel like I have a visual vocabulary of water and I associate each of those visuals with feelings I get out on the trail.  Water falls and rushing water, does energize me.  I want to move around the next bend, see what is further on.  Lazy streams, do make me a bit lazy, they slow me down.  I observe more.  Still water, reflective water invites me to sit.  There are times I choose a hike because of the type of water I will find there and what I am seeking that day.

This piece, Los Penesquitos, captures so much of the different types of water.  I sit by this water rushing by, but also get to see the still water beyond.  Sometimes it is knowing still water is out there, within view,  that gets us through the uncontrollable waterfalls of our lives.

Moving to Calm Waters - Los Penesquitos Canyon

Moving to Calm Waters - Los Penesquitos Canyon