The Angonoka or Ploughshare Tortoise is a critically endangered species that live in the grasslands and dry scrub forests of Northern Madagascar. In ideal situations, their lifespan is from 50-100 years. Unfortunately, these tortoises are at an extremely high risk of extinction due to poachers, habitat loss, and illegal trade.
7″x12″x7″ Wood, handmade felt, geodes, amber, hematite Endangered Galapagos Penguins are found in certain areas of the Galapagos Islands and live on the equator. They are threatened by pollution, climate change, starvation due to extreme warm weather, and predators such as cats, dogs, owls, hawks, snakes, and sea lions. Strong El Nino events caused mortalities of up to 77%
The Black Panther is considered threatened or even endangered mainly due to deforestation of habitat and human encroachment mainly for agricultural purposes. The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is Michigan’s only poisonous snake. The population of this timid snake has declined due to habitat loss, human persecution, indiscriminate killing, and illegal collection.
The African Wild Painted Dog is the third sculpture in my Endangered Species Series. I feel it’s important to bring these animals and their habitats into the consciousness of the public. Hopefully my work will draw the viewer to the piece and then remind them of all the animals that are being unconsciously eradicated. Many species are still alive albeit severely diminished in numbers.
I first began the series by researching the most endangered species. Certain animals spoke out to me. When exploring each animal, I was also drawn to their environment and how they struggle to adapt and survive in their ever-diminishing habitat. You Tube is a wonderful technology for viewing live footage.
Each piece is created with a handmade felt environmental backdrop and ground cloth or like the African Wild Painted Dog, a handmade felt terrain.
I hope you enjoy these in-progress images of my African Wild Painted Dog.
In January my husband and I visited Hawaii for a 2-week vacation. We spent a week on the island of Oahu and another week on Maui. When visiting the Bishop Museum on Oahu, a docent introduced us to the concept of ‘wahi pana’, sacred places of Hawaii. These ancient geographical sites merge the spiritual with the importance of place. The ancient ancestors knew the earth’s spiritual essence was infused within these sacred sites, which included dwelling places of the gods, temples, and shrines. They appear as mounds, mountains, weather phenomena, forests, and volcanoes.
We discovered ‘Ancient Sites of Oahu, A guide to Hawaiian Archaeological places of interest’ by Van James in the Bishop Museum bookstore and decided to visit a few of these sites each day as we explored the island of Oahu. We had many adventures trying to locate these sites. We trekked for hours 1,000 feet up a steep and treacherous mountain only to discover that the site was next to the parking lot where we had entered! We ventured into residential neighborhoods and behind community centers to discover sites tucked between houses and into unlikely terrains. One residential site, ‘Healing Stones of Wahiawa’ only contained pictures of the 3 huge healing stones. We never found out what happened to the missing stones. This did not stop folks from leaving flowers on the altar. Most sites were marked with national plaques and many had informational signage. The following are several of the ‘Heiaus’, which are Hawaiian temples, stone platforms or earth terraces and ‘ahus’ or heaps, pile, altars, shrines. I hope you enjoy.
The Eastern Bongo Antelope of Kenya is a critically endangered animal. Bongos are hunted for their horns and luxurious pelts. My Bongo has wings to bring attention to the fact that these beautiful animals are quickly becoming extinct. The felt wall cloth depicts the Kenyan habitat. The cloth is first hand felted and then needle felted to add greater detail. The borders are pieced together and hand stitched on to the larger cloth. The sculpture of the Bongo begins with a wooden armature. The hand felted pelt is then glued and sewn to the armature. Stones and crystals are embedded in the felt surface. I’ve added shells for horns and cabochons for eyes. The wings are made of wood. The last step is to saturate the felt of the animal with glue and the lightly sand the entire surface to a smooth finish.
This past May I spent two wonderful weeks visiting with my good friend Diane in Santa Fe. I brought along a list of places I wanted to visit and sites I needed to research for my work. As I look back on my list, I am amazed that we covered everything and more! The top priority was visitations to historic missions in Santa Fe, Truchas, Chimayo, and Taos, NM. While a few of the missions were not open to the public, several were open and in very good repair. I was most taken with Santuario de Chimayo. I had visited it many years before and remembered it to be quite an emotional experience. The site has been expanded to include several more outbuildings with more ‘touristy’ kinds of items for purchase. While the sanctuary appears to be a bit more organized, it remains a deeply sacred and holy place. I hope you enjoy the images of these missions and devotional images.
While vacationing in northern Michigan, I discovered a dead possum on the side of the road. Although seriously flattened, the jaw and front paw appeared to be fairly in tact. I grabbed some plastic bags at the cottage and returned to the scene for possum pickup. The rest is evident! Stayed tuned to see how Possum works his way into a future art piece. Special thanks to Diane Pinney for her assistance and photo documentation.
A special note of interest: According to Ted Andrews in Animal Speak, opossum teaches us how to use appearances. Sometimes it is necessary to ‘play dead.’ Sometimes it is necessary to put up a particular front to succeed most easily and effectively. This is what the medicine of opossum can teach. It also can show you when others are putting up false fronts and deceptions. The opossum has an archetypal energy that helps us to use appearances to our greatest benefit and that helps us to recognize when others are creating false impressions.
I was recently invited by the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild to present a lecture on my Creative Process and to teach a mini and an extended sculptural basketry workshop in Rockville, Maryland. It was great fun. My students were creative, intense, dexterous, talented, and just terrific to teach. My four days with the group flew by. I look forward to receiving pics of the finished pieces.
Installation pics of solo show at Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center thanks to photographer extraordinaire Marilyn Zimmerwoman!
I have shied away from the word “retrospective” as it seems to imply that one is old or dead and at the end of a career. Yes, Infolding/Unfolding is an exhibit of work from over three decades. But, I am happier and more alive than I have ever been and just beginning a whole new chapter in my art career.
Infolding/Unfolding is curated by Amy Kantgias. These reliefs and sculptures blend my love of Jungian psychology, alchemy, dreams, tarot, ritual, mythology, and shamanism with matter. My intense exploration of mediums and techniques over the years has given me the freedom to incorporate a wide range of materials in my work. Polymer, found wood, beads, plant material, birdseed, minerals, cactus, shells, bones, kozo fiber, adobe, glass, hog casing, fleece, feathers, wax, and metal have all been appropriated.
I am wildly excited about my new Threshold Series that melds handmade felt and needle felting with many of these materials. And still the common thread running through all my work is an In/folding/Unfolding of the spiritual and physical worlds to create autobiographical narratives where rhythm, balance, and harmony invite the viewer’s participation.
I was honored to be included in this sculpture exhibition that featured so many fine Detroit area sculptors. Many thanks to Rob Onnes and Rick Cronn for organizing this great show and for all their hard work.