For more than two decades I have manufactured custom architectural glass for residential installations, while at the same time creating Navajo-style tapestry works of art. These two art forms were worlds apart from one another until recently when, for the first time, my love for glass and my passion for fiber arts were intertwined.
A few years ago, in a time of grief, I was unexpectedly offered freedom. At a Pilchuck Glass School residency, I was given permission to breath, reflect, fail, and observe. It was the greatest artistic gift even given to me, and it changed my life immeasurable. From that opportunity came clarity, and slowly I have woven a tale that encompasses my desire to speak to social justice issues through mixed media visual arts.
I participated in the residency a year after my mom died of Alzheimer’s disease, and it was there that I began visualizing new materials beyond my familiar glass. I reflected on my childhood. I had dreamt of being an astronaut; as an adult, scuba diving the coral reefs of the Pacific fulfilled that other-worldly vision.
It is from these treasured times with inhabitants of those island nations that led me to search for symbols of world unity in this time of global crises. I was drawn to vessels as that representation. Baskets and vessels have been a universal artifact since early civilization for gathering and preserving life-sustaining goods.
In the early days of the pandemic, an epidemiologist stated that thinking-outside-the-box requires a box, which no longer exists in battling a novel virus. That comment instantly gave me freedom once again, to journey to a new space of exploration – one that reveals what is possible when we unite.
After reflecting on the researcher’s statement, Universal Vessels exploded from my mind. I imagined creating a series of baskets and vessels to bring to life the merging of fiber with glass. Each creation would symbolize cooperation between dissimilar cultures to forge tangible, viable solutions to benefit the wellbeing of all.
The baskets and vessels of the series are created with kilnformed glass for the bases and spokes, while the weft binds the glass with fiber including reed, yarn, and wire with tantalizing embellishments.
Into the future, I will strive to illuminate this symbolic effort to heal a broken planet with these simple vessels. It is my hope that this art weaves a story that resonates with many who can weave an impenetrable force for good.