Growing up, I was an avid reader of Nancy Drew and ghost stories. I loved to peek in the windows of old buildings and have always been fascinated by a decorative door or an ornate doorknob. Passing the time in antique shops, I was always drawn to the boxes of old postcards, wooden crates filled with other families’ photos, and dusty books with beautiful typeface. It’s been a fascinating journey as an artist to watch how this obsessive interest in the past works its way into my creative life. Working as a multi-medium artist is very nurturing to me. There are common properties across pottery and encaustic as very textural mediums, and you actually use some of the same tools when carving clay and carving wax. Taking time to work across both “lanes” of interest keeps my inspiration flowing.
I first touched clay as an undergraduate taking a pottery course at Parsons School of Design in NYC. It serves as a distinct point of change for me – I couldn’t believe how powerful it felt to create something functional and beautiful with my own hands.Taking a lump of wet dirt and shaping it into a form that is then fired, glazed, and fired again feels like a grounded way to create beautiful art.
I also nurtured a long-standing interest in collage and would fill visual journals with juxtapositions of imagery that caught my eye. A friend who knew my love of putting images together recommended that I check out the Encaustic Center in Richardson. From my first beginner’s workshop, I was hooked! Encaustic is a medium working with a mix of beeswax and resin that, when brushed on hot, can either serve as a way to hold collage elements together or, when oil pigment is added, becomes a paint that can layer up beautifully and then be scraped back to reveal the wonders beneath. Adding heat through a blow torch or heat gun fuses the layers together and builds the piece as you work.
Encaustic collage pieces are a vehicle for my fascination with vintage ephemera – the stories vintage items can tell us and the ways that pieces of history mesh with our present reality to reveal unexpected beauty. Many of my pieces feature family artifacts brought together in juxtaposition with items I love for their color, design, texture, or text features. I have nurtured a life-long collection of items – postage stamps, book pages, postcard imagery, product labels – that still resonate with the purpose they served before and stand ready to reveal whispers of the past repurposed.
My pottery pieces range from traditional pottery bowls, “doornaments,” “houselights,” “housedishes,” and thrown pottery pieces embellished with architectural details. I originally started as a wheel potter but channeled my love for architecture by adding doors to some of my thrown pieces and then branched into handbuilding doors and buildings. I love the way that hand building allows for careful construction of architectural elements – bringing aspects of old buildings that have always caught my eye to life in clay.
Even now when I travel I’m likely to snap a picture of a paint-peeled window or a time-worn doorknob. I draw on these captured moments for inspiration in both my encaustic and pottery work. Living in Historic District in McKinney feeds my love of all things old while also being supported by this vibrant artist community. I am thrilled when someone connects with one of my pieces because it resonates with their own history. Bringing these elements together in collage or clay allows for a vibrant new life for familiar things.
“The Things You Look At Change” ‑ Encaustic Collage, 12″ x 12″
“Cherry Red” ‑ Encaustic Painting, 6″ x 6″
“Postmark” ‑ Encaustic Collage, 9″ x 12″
“City Block” ‑ Handbuilt Pottery Piece, 10″ x 7.5″ x 4″
“Doornament with Red Door and Greenery” ‑ Handbuilt Pottery Piece, 3″ x 5″
“Housepitcher” ‑ Handbuild Pottery Piece, approx. 5″ x 4″