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Artist Statement

Handmade journals, sketchbooks, cookbooks or any type of book is a reliquary waiting to hold the memories of the user or provide memories for a user. Handmade memories moving into the future enlightening and informing those that receive them.

Each of my books is unique even though I may follow the same procedure and they possess many of the same dimensions. Moments during the process will dictate a books own individuality. This gives them a story before any item is entered into the book.

The Coptic style binding I utilize in most of my creations is because of its beauty and usability. All the pages lie flat when open. Writing and drawing are much easier on a flat surface. Also being able to see the binding is always more appealing to my eyes.

Some of the books call for a closure. Usually in my designs I do not use closure. A book is inviting you in when the interior is more accessible for entry or retrieval of memories.

Words are a medium used to convey expression. Books are used to convey those words in the form of stories or instruction. Sculptural Books or Books as Object convey the artistic expression of the maker. This is why Book Arts is one medium expressing creativity that can be enjoyed by all.

Biography

My parents opened a grocery store less than two months before I was born. It was a small country grocery that also had gas pumps and served lunch for the area workers. I grew up doing all the jobs. Stocking shelves, pumping gas and eventually working the lunch counter and running the register.

Listening to the cultural stories of the community during my rearing is one of the most indelible memories of my childhood. Old men, or what I perceived as old men at the time, sat around the lunch table swapping stories, knives and just generally carrying on. They were discussing crops, the weather and perhaps some politics from time to time. Oral history being lived was ongoing around that table. This influenced my interests in learning about the cultural histories of other people.

Growing up with these stories and having a desire to learn about others cultures, I was drawn to books. Reading about different cultures was soothing because it took me, in a small way, back to the store where I always felt happy and safe. Ultimately a love of storytelling led me to college. While back at school I also pursued my interest in cultural history and art. All these interests combined to lead me to The Penland School of Craft. While attending Penland and The Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft I began to see that books themselves are beautiful and not just utilitarian. I am still pursuing more cultural knowledge while having a passion for creating Sculptural Books; books that are not only a vessel carrying the cultural stories of the past but have an aesthetic place within my own culture.

Sometimes our paths in life must change. And sometimes the choice to change our path is a long an arduous journey in itself. My current life path came after nearly 30 years of indecision. I am now happy with my path, even when life’s stream is rough and rocky.

To dwell on a difficult situation is like taking a hammer and chisel and etching that memory deep into our memories. Instead take that hammer and chisel and craft yourself a new situation.

Work Shops

2016 Penland Winter Residency (Book Studio)
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