The focus of my work is process oriented.
Several years ago, I was significantly changed by the process of finding a brown ash tree, harvesting it from the swamp, removing its bark, pounding its growth rings, removing and splitting the splints, sizing the splints, and weaving a basket with those very splints. Revealed by the arduous pounding of the tree and tedious splitting of the splints, is a lush, satiny surface with remarkable, inherent surface variations. This fiber is extremely durable and versatile and has an unassuming quality of strength. Though I no longer process the material myself, I am no less inspired. My delight is to continually explore the qualities of brown ash.
Weaving the brown ash keeps me centered. Because of its satiny surface, I must stay centered. When my mind drifts, the ash can easily twist, and I am pulled to the present by the necessity to unweave and weave again. In this way, brown ash becomes teacher, and my lesson is to listen to what the energy of the creative process is saying: “Surrender beyond the mundane. Accept the development of the piece in the moment.” Pushing my capacity for tolerating the discomfort of not knowing the outcome and staying put while surrendering to the void is necessary for authentic work to come forth. A willingness to learn the pace of the piece is unrelenting. The mystery unfolding is simultaneously, unnerving and thrilling. As I maintain this student relationship to the piece, a true communion occurs, and it is through that communion that the tree is transformed.