My high school art teacher recognized that my friend and I were anxious to explore the arts in depth, so she suggested we spend Saturday mornings at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. There I studied photography for the first time.
Hesitant to use the camera while abroad, my camera fell out of use for a decade. Thanks to the photo documentation of this project and my work to keep the website for the Milkweed Farm in Brunswick Maine up-to-date, I have rediscovered how much I am drawn to this medium. Although only a beginning, I am pleased with these images as a foray back into the world of photography.
The majority of the photographs in this section have not been edited. If they have been altered, I've done the edits myself, rather than allowing any automatic enhancements.
Special Occasion Photography
September 1st began our lease of a second floor three-bedroom
apartment one block from the sea on Munjoy Hill. Built in 1878, it contains historic character, such as original stained
glass windows, molding, hardwood floors and beadboard trim in
the bathroom and kitchen. Our landlord bought the building in a sorry state; but despite the wall-to-wall carpeting and fake wood paneling, he saw its potential. Luckily
for us, he had the skills, patience, and eye to restore it into an
apartment full of light and beauty.
When we moved in, we did a lot of rearranging, especially in the kitchen, and now it is a home.
One night, our neighbor, who we had deemed to be a pseudo-celebrity, because she is the owner of the Holy Donut was over for dessert. Tapping on our kitchen island, she asked me "Where did you get this table?" After explaining that I had made it from salvaged wood and steel pipe, she said "Can I commission you to make something like this for my new shop on Exchange Street?" In shocked disbelief, I enthusiastically agreed. A few days later, looking at the space together, she explained what she envisioned. I took measurements of the large recessed wall, on which she wanted shelving for merchandise. Since the shelving was going to be on the left side of the space, tables and patrons would be seated in front, which added to the design challenge. I scurried off to Old House Parts in Kennebunk Maine and delightedly flipped through piles of old shutters, window panes, narrow doors, and mismatched leaves of dining room tables. Soon I saw a large stash of wooden shelves that were appealing for multiple reasons: they were only 7" deep, which was perfect for the shallow space; they had a grove along the front edge for labels; and they had a knob and groove at each end, which was an historic detail I appreciated. Full of excitement, I sketched the design to scale, priced the materials, and presented a quote. Leigh gave it the go ahead. A few nights later, Lady Zen, an employee and local musician kindly cued up Pandora, gave us the keys to the shop, and let us at it. My brother and I laid out the design, talked through the installation process, and joked as we worked away. We were pleased with the final product, and more importantly, so was Leigh. Do yourself a favor, go get one of her dark chocolate sea salt donuts.... now!
Our kitchen is in two sections, a narrow pantry with a sink and a larger space with the refrigerator and stove. Though awkward, I envisioned a floor plan that would maximize space, ease and aesthetics. It did require my landlord to hire people to rewire the kitchen, but... when we saw the place, he said the appliances could be moved, so I took him up on it!
Once the wiring was completed, I used floor boards to build a counter top beside the stove and an island.
This Spring, I built a table for our porch, using an old barn door as the surface.
Lots of Legs
The foot brace provides comfort and aesthetic appeal.
Steel piping creates the base. The guys at the hardware store said it couldn't be done...
Steel flanges connect the base to the counter and provide feet.
Bird's Eye View
Wood Welded- Ballyblock Co. Bally, PA
Counter, Back Splash & Shelves
My roomate's cupboard is dark and too small for the space, so I used
floor boards to build a counter top, back splash, and shelving to
maximize space, hide piping and brighten up the counter.
Bird's Eye View of Barn Door Table Top
Seat with a View
Cut Paper Pieces
One of my favorite artists is Nikki McClure.
She makes cut-paper pieces depicting simple scenes that
capture the beauty of hard work, nature, and family. I get her calendar
each year, have a couple of her prints, and put one of her designs on
my foot... permanently!
Before I knew of
Nikke McClure, I did many cut paper projects in college, and it is a medium I come back to time and time again. The
careful craftsmanship that an exacto knife requires mesmerizes me and I delight in the intricate details it can produce.
Here are a few pieces I
did recently as gifts for friends. As much as I
like the scene of Maine, I don't care for the printed paper
as representation of the sea, rocks, land, etc. Next time, I will
experiment with ways to simplify it, and use the black paper to
represent positive and negative space, rather than just outlines. I
prefer the abstract pattern pieces, due to their repetition and movement.
Abstract Piece Side-view
After layering the patterned papers, I placed the black cut paper web on top. This is a close-up side view of the piece before it was glued.
Before Setting with Glue
Abstract Cut Paper web
Using an exacto knife, I cut away the larger pieces to create a paper web of the abstract sketch. I flipped the paper so the pencil marks were no longer visible.
After choosing paper patterns in a color scheme, I
played around with various placements. I decided to layer the pieces ,
so that patterns would still hold continuity from one section to the
next, and alleviate gluing obstacles.
All Layers in Place
Final layers in place, ready to be over-layed with the black web of paper
Final Piece Close-up
I am very pleased with this piece, so hope to make more!
Final product- a birthday card!
Stylized Sketch of the Maine Coast
The original sketch, depicting a stylized interpretation of the view of Portland's Casco Bay from the East End Beach.
Black Paper Web
First Patterned Layers
Patterned paper, chosen to represent features in the view, cut and laid into place.
Ready to be Glued
All the patterned pieces cut and layered, ready to be glued into place.
A mirrored image created with the extracted pieces from the paper web.
Thanks to Mindy's encouragement this summer, and again
this year, I've executed on this paper cut-out project! Here is the
piece that kicked it off this summer. Inspired by the bed spread in my
apartment in Missoula, I made this for my roommate Wendy.
Final Piece Close-up
I am pleased with the simplicity, movement, and use of negative and positive space in this piece.
I have been collecting found objects to make into jewelry for years. Although some objects are man made, such as beads, small plastic buoys from fishing traps, and 1920's
illustrations pulled from the insulation of an old house, most of my collection consists of natural objects. Among
others, I've collected seed pods from coppice in The Bahamas, horse
chestnut seeds from fields in England, bark from forests in western
Massachusetts, stones from beaches in Alaska, seeds from a river's shore
in Canada, and shells from the coast of Maine.
Watching the sunrise one
wintery morning, I
noticed lobster tails washed up on the beach. I stuffed dozens of tails into various pockets of
my snow pants and cradled as many as I could in my mittened hands. After soaking them and hanging them on the line to dry, I separated the tails into their sections.
I used a thumb tack to make holes in the seeds and shells,
and pliers to fasten the silver rings. I am pleased with the first pair of earrings, so intend to make more.
This image is an excerpt from my kindergarten class photo. I have extremely fond memories of kindergarten. I was a tomboy, who chased the boys around the playground in one of the three skirts I had in rotation, which fell above grass stained knees, scrapes, and bruises. I swung across the monkey bars two at a time and unabashedly sang aloud Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All. Though I don't remember this class photo being taken, nor do I remember being cheeky enough to pose like this, it captures the uninhibited nature of childhood and true companionship.
To create this piece, I used tracing paper and pencil to extract Chris and myself from our surrounding classmates. I enlarged that tracing with a photocopier and traced it again to create a simplified black and white logo design, which I scanned into the computer. In Photoshop I added color to Chris' overalls and my sweater.
I am pleased that this process has captured my playful spontaneity and genuine affection for a dear friend, and Chris' delighted surprise. I hope this image reminds you of a time when you were uninhibited and inspires more to come.