Saturday, March 27, 2010


I have always been drawn to boats. Growing up in Arkansas near three lakes, there was always a boat in the see, my dad loved boats, too. There was an aluminum fishing boat with sweeping curved lines and at one time a large wooden boat big enough to sleep several people and later, once the kids were mostly grown and water skiing was out of the question, a party barge or two. I have wonderful memories of fishing for crappie, bass, and bluegill with my dad on Lake Hamilton. If I close my eyes I can still remember the smell of my dad's tackle box and the peculiar odor of the rubber purple worms. He used to tell a story of having me out in the boat with him when I was only 3 or 4 years old. A storm blew in and there was thunder and lightening in the distance. He said every time it lightened my fine red hair would stand straight up from static electricity. My dad kept trying to smooth my hair down afraid that I would draw the lightening to us. Needless to say, we did make it off the lake unscathed.

When I was about 12 years old I wanted a kayak so bad. Mom and dad bought me a kit for my birthday and dad and I worked on the wooden kayak with a cloth skin for months in the unfinished living room addition of our house. We had a pulley system rigged so that at night, or if company came, we could pull the boat up out of the way. Later in life I worked as a kayak guide in Baja...again being drawn to the pod like shape of kayaks.

Maybe it's all this early boat memory in my cells that joined forces a few days ago and led me to make a small sculpture of a boat. I'm calling this style boat a SKIMMER (thanks to my dear friend, Kristi, for helping me come up with this name.) To me a SKIMMER denotes light weight and a hull that barely touches the water. PELLUCID is a word that means translucent. A PELLUCID SKIMMER is the perfect description of this style boat.

The frame of my first skimmer is made of copper wire and just like the skin boats of early arctic people, it, too, has a skin. A very thin Japanese paper (gampi) that has been printed with vintage imagery covers the boat. I purposely chose imagery from old photographs that showed people enjoying the beach or water in general. I glue the paper on while it is damp and as it dries it shrinks slightly and really does resemble a stretched skin.

On this particular boat I used waxed linen thread to attach the ribs. The linen thread reminds me of sinew that was used in traditional skin boats. Eventually this 7 inch skimmer will have a stand. Next I want to try a slightly larger skimmer....maybe 12 inches....and then maybe 20 inches.....stay tuned!!

Remember that you can click on a photo to see an enlarged version.

I really love this organic shape that is both pod and boat at the same time. There is a beautiful translucency when the SKIMMER is slightly backlit.

This photo is looking down into the SKIMMER.

Friday, March 26, 2010


AT DUSK is the second box that was made for the exhibition ART COUTURE...HATS AND SHOES showing at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts through the end of March. Like the first box, this one is wired for a small light. When the light is off only part of the story is revealed but when the light is on, all is revealed.

I enjoy writing a haiku from time to time. This is one of mine etched in nickel on the right side of the box.

AT DUSK measures 10 inches wide...9 inches tall....and 3 inches deep. The box is made of cherry, photo-etched red brass and nickel, glass, a vintage photo on paper and electrical components.

Enjoy these images and remember that you can see a larger image by clicking on the photo.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This is one of the boxes I created for the exhibition ART COUTURE...HATS AND SHOES at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. I've been making my boxes for a couple of years now and for nearly all that time I have wanted to illuminate one. At first I really wanted to figure out how to make the light be powered by a battery because I didn't want a cord showing....thinking that it might be distracting. A battery operated box is tricky. In a gallery setting with the light left on for long periods many batteries would have to be replaced. Then I discovered new vintage reproduction cloth electric cords. Since my boxes have a vintage feel to them this discovery helped me embrace the cord and let it be an integral part of the box.

The fun part for me in making this box is that when the light is off you only see part of the story but when the box is illuminated, all is revealed. A metaphor for life really. Also, I am attracted to layering and the slow reveal. On prior boxes this was accomplished through the use of doors. You had to be patient and discover the layers. In these newest boxes the secret is discovered through the twist of a light switch. When I had the idea to try this kind of layering of imagery I was reminded of reading children's books to my niece and nephews. Just as the story got good there would be the anticipation of "and then what happened" before the page was turned. Flipping the light switch is the same kind of anticipation for me. Also, when I etch metal I am always working from a transparency of the image. Sometimes in looking through my transparencies two non-related images may be stacked together. I love looking at the image on the top transparency and also seeing the image on the transparency behind it and then making up a story.

A DREAM REMEMBERED is made of cherry, etched nickel and red brass, glass, a vintage photo on paper and electrical components. It measures 14 inches tall...6 inches wide...and 3 inches deep.

Enjoy these images and remember that you can see a larger image by clicking on the photo.


ART COUTURE....HATS AND SHOES is the title for the March exhibition at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts on Bainbridge Island. The show runs from March 5-30th.

BAC says about their show, "The clothes we wear are close to our heart – and also close to our heads, hands, and feet. For Art Couture, artists have provided us with great design, amusing stories, and unexpected poetry. When BAC invites artists to participate in a group show, we give them a specific theme or premise of the show. What they do with these broad guidelines is always impossible to predict."

I am excited to have two of my boxes in the show. I went to the opening this past was well attended and a lot of fun to see old friends and get to hear reactions to all the art.

I tried something different this time and electrified my boxes with small lights. Check in on the next couple of posts to see the results of my efforts.