Archive for June, 2019

Ten Cent Worth

June 29, 2019

My brother and I were talking about the time when, at the tender age of 8, I took 10 pennies from his coin collection to buy a candy bar. I innocently took the first ten pennies, which I learned later are the oldest and most valuable. I made this piece, Ten Cent Worth after our conversation. In the process of making it, I realized I had a lot of shame about that incident. I think he’s still a little peeved, but I forgave myself. 😉

ten cent worth

Ten Cent Worth

I became kind of obsessed about these sort of “pigtails”, which I had used on other pieces in the past. They suggested “girl”, but also suggested hypervigilence, like antennae, which one sprouts when the youngest of 4 in an alcoholic household. A body of work followed.



I made “Maw” incorporating the “Basquiat” face as though on this character’s t shirt. A pensive little angel, recalling a quote from something I was reading at the time, “in every happy moment, pulled into a maw of loss and fear and shame.” Connecting “maw” with “Ma”, along came Imperious Palace, a piece about the ideas of standards and taste one inherits from her mother.

imperious palace A

Imperious Palace

This is how I riff—how one piece leads to another. The patterns on the little “heads” are like china patterns. Blue and white china reminds me of my mother. And china patterns led to the creation of my China Dolly Wallies.

Darkness, darkness

June 29, 2019

basq collage

This is another section of the collage mentioned previously. The main image here was supposedly a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, or perhaps it was just inspired by his work. I lost the caption. In either case, it was something I associated with him and it has a lot of energy for me. I related to it on a feeling level (chaotic, disassociated, uncentered, vulnerable), but also intellectually challenged, my interest piqued, and tried to bring some of this into the clay piece it inspired, below.

basquiat box

The tangled guy is like a different aspect of the problem. He’s so preoccupied with being tangled up in his rope (in his head), he doesn’t see anything else. In the process of making the piece in clay and string, I realized I had the power to take that rope and wind it up in neat loops and set it aside (or use it to lasso another idea).



Ravenous Heart

June 29, 2019

Ravenous Heart reshot

My clay work often comes out of collages. The collage is a reflection of the psyche. It invites the unconscious to reveal itself, like a dream. Like dreams, the images come in service to health and healing.

The girl with the heartberries was the central image of my collage. It was the first aha in the collage-making process.

This piece, Ravenous Heart, was one of the first images I made in clay in response to the collage. It’s a massive understatement to say that it was (and is) very revealing! My teacher, Coeleen Kiebert, always said, and I’ve echoed through the years, it’s good to get these things out where you can look at them! I hope the title tells the story.

Heartberries: it starts with a collage

June 29, 2019

This is the center section of the collage: A girl in pink with huge goblet full of strawberries. She holds one. She stares into space, contemplating, daydreaming, imagining. She contemplates each one of these berries then puts it into the big woven basket. Each berry represents an idea, something worth considering, perhaps something to represent in clay. One at a time. Hundreds of them.

Behind her is the open red door, the way to and from the mysteries and histories of her heart. She has come out of the open door; she contemplates berries; she will go back inside with a little more understanding.

I encountered the name “heartberries” some months after making this collage, reading a book of the same name, then encountered it again in a wonderful book called Braiding Sweetgrass. Both books are by Native American women; strawberries are heartberries.

The door is in the basement of a church. This I recognized from a dream. The basement of a church is where the work gets done. It’s all hands on, a foundation for what’s upstairs. It’s for people who maintain things, make and share food, take out the garbage, teach the children. Authentic spiritual work.

From here, “Heartberries” take several forms, both in collaged images and clay pieces over a period of months.heartberry collage