As a young child, I was walked through the museums of New York City, by my father. My dad was an artist, as well. I knew at an early age that I wanted to become an artist, even though life, health, and lack of money have sidetracked me for extended periods of time.
My metamorphic sequence in art started with macreme and weaving. In my first semester of college, I built an 8 harness loom in my UNM woodshop class. I studied multiple layer weaving, and I took an art class with Kay Sekamachi in northern New Mexico. I began to use alternative materials in my weaving. For example, I began using wire, plastic tubing, and plastic yarn in my weaving. I also experimented with iKat dyeing or space dyeing of the warp in my layered weaving. Around this time, I started to crochet shapes in order to create more sculptural forms. My work did not sell when I was showing my work.
While attending school in Denton, Texas, I traded my time dipping shells into a small foundry in exchange for learning how to mold, sprue, and dip several of my crochet pieces. I returned to New Mexico with my dipped, unburnt out porcelain shells. Shidoni burnt them out, poured, and painted them for me. I was disappointed with how they turned out because it didn't show the texture of the original crochet. I sold one plaque to the New Mexico Arts. The plaque was to be placed in a WIC office in northern New Mexico.
I went back to school in Albuquerque and lived in the old Downtown Apartments, located at 6th and Central. It was owned by Garo Antreasian, Robert Ellis, and Jon Abrams. It was a two story building with a stairway we had to carry my loom up. I began learning about and producing non-silver photos with Betty Hahn's guidance. I printed with the traditional cyanotype and VanDyke chemicals, but I moved onto using Kwik Print on fabrics. Kwik Print chemicals were developed for the 4 color printing process for proofing each layer of color on plastic sheeting. Betty primed me for graduate school in Champaign, Illinois. I didn't accept the position because I was full of photo chemicals. One natural remedy I was using was Clorox baths to leach the silver from my system. I used several others.
I completed my Master's degree in Art Education/Imaginal Art Therapy at the University of New Mexico and went into public school teaching planning to do art in the summers. I got my chance to learn to weld and cast bronze because Santa Fe Community College opened their well-ventilated, high ceiling shops for classes. I repeatedly took classes there, at night and during the summers. John Boyce, amongst others there, encouraged and taught me.
In a break from teaching special education, I had a car accident. The accident resulted in a settlement, and I had Shidoni make a mold of my Internet piece, cast it, and patina it. In order to learn about other patina choices, I took a workshop about irridescents. The workshop was lead by Ron Young.
Alchemically, I like changing soft pieces into permanent bronze pieces. I did this because I showed and showed soft pieces, but they did not sell. For me, it has been the making of the art that has been important. The creation of the art has helped me deal with my toughest challenges, life experiences, and losses. Art therapy has truly helped me.
The real work of creating bronze sculptures begins after the pour, when the shells have cooled over night. It is when you begin to break the shell off with a hammer. The pour cup and sprues have to be cut off with a hammer. The pour cup and sprues have to be cut off with a grinder. In those cut-off areas, the texture needs to be recreated with air tools. Next, you tig weld pieces together or weld the piece to a base. Lastly is the reheating and patina, which seals the surface of the bronze. Bronze casting is an alchemical process, which goes from wax to wax encased in porcelain, to the shell burnt out, and onto the firey pour of the bronze. The alchemical process ends with the unsheathed bronze form that is undergoing grinding, tooling, and being patinaed to flourish and stand on its own.