I was born on February 22, 1962 in Portland, Oregon, the 4th child in a family that would have five at the end of the next year. My early life influenced so many of my later choices in life and in art. My father worked two jobs so I learned about work and keeping a work ethic. My mother ran the house, sewed for us and kept us in school and church. Both of them loved beautiful old things. They hunted in antique stores, auctions, flea markets and thrift stores for whatever my mom liked. At 12, I was allowed to bid at an auction (I had been going to them for 2 years.) My dad wasn't very impressed with the biscuit jar I bought but I loved the excitement of the bid as much as I loved the item itself.
When I was very small, about 5, I had a bicycle accident. As a result, I had a number of skin grafts and surgeries on my foot and was unable to walk for months at a time. My mother brought me craft projects and we would work on them together or with other kids. Over the years, she taught me to Tole paint, embroider and sew. I will admit I do none of them well to this day but she gave me the crafting bug and an eye for design.
My father's creativity was in his words. He was born in a small Polish community in Texas (yes, really) and had an accent few could place. He had a desert dry wit and a collection of favorite sayings that always seemed to sum up a situation in a few words. Dad always found the quirky side of things. That unique view of the world has been one of his many gifts to me along with his love of one liners.
I moved from the rather open and liberal Northwest to the small but growing town of Fuquay Varina in North Carolina in 2004. (Pronounced "FEW-kway" for those of you thinking it's a swear word.) The combination of culture shock, cultural naivete and marriage still causes consternation and the occasional bafflement. But I have to say it has improved my art. I found my own style and it has been welcomed by many.
In 2005 I married Joe, who is my biggest fan and my nicest critic. It still amazes me that he will honestly consider and answer questions like "do these colors work" when he's got a migraine so bad his eyes want to pop out. He is creative in his own right with inventions and dreaming up new ways of doing things. And he is pretty dang funny so we laugh a great deal; sometimes at very inappropriate things. It's great to have someone to do that with. Joe tells me all the time that I have "Crafter's A.D.D." because I am always looking at a new project, a new medium or tool to work with or a way to say something I have to get out. I say "uh huh" and point out a cool design I could use if I just tweeked it a bit...
I use elements from my life in my art like any artist. Important things like being a part of a Catholic family and the Catholic Church. Loving old anything - books, art, culture, things. There is no bigger thrill than the hunt for that one incredible item in the back of the crate. Or find the one quote that sums up what I am trying to say in layers of paint and paper. I hunt for things that show possibility and probable beauty.
Life has its good bits and it's bad. I try to incorporate both sides but not too much from either one. To me, that balance is the essence of crafting your art. I strive to make something that is useful as well as artsy, beautiful and unique. I end up creating something that is a part of me that you can see and, hopefully, will tell a story you can hold in your hand.