Diane cuts away excess adhesive before
grouting stained glass 911 Memorial Bench in New Freedom Park,
I cant remember a single day without art. At four, I was making little clay sculptures with my mother and drawing pictures of the farm next door. My parents and I were living in Lanesboro, Massachusetts while my father finished his 20 year naval career at a nearby reserve post. The New England landscape made a strong impression on me .so much so that every once and a while a mountain or two might appear in my work. Not a surprise considering we lived only a short distance from the foot of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. After spending two wonderful years in the Berkshires, we moved back to our home in Pemberton, New Jersey, where I began my elementary education. It wasnt until high school that I discovered the pleasure of showing my friends and family how to create their own art. That was when I decided to pursue a career as an art educator and an artist. I loved my time teaching and will always miss the students and staff I grew with over the years. After completing a 30 year career in art education Im now pursuing a new career as a full time artist.
Texture and pattern, visual or tactile have always fascinated me. Pen and ink has been my primary medium for 25 years. My drawings are filled with the visual textures of hatching, crosshatching and stipple. On the other hand, my low fire fossil-like garden impression tiles possess textures created by impressions made from natural materials, handmade stamps, found objects and carved imagery. I also love to embellish my tiles with tree branches, especially cedar and willow. I sometimes use antiqued copper to add more texture and visual interest.
Tile has become a favorite ceramic venue. My first memory of tile goes back to my grandparents house and the beautiful jewel toned tile pieces that adorned their fireplace. As a child I would frequently study them and run my hands over them enjoying the juxtaposition of their smooth surface to the rough grout. Later when I had just started teaching ceramics I attended a field trip to Henry Mercers Fonthill and Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, PA. That visit and all my future visits to this historical landmark would play a huge roll in my education and appreciation for tile. Ive also been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend workshops with some of the finest ceramic artists in the country through an organization called Clay in Mind. In contrast to my experiences in ceramics, my educational experience as a pen and ink artist has been very isolated and independent. There were no classes or workshops when I first began to work in the medium. The rapidograph was still a drafting tool and wouldnt work at an angle so I used a crow quill pen. Most of my knowledge was gleaned from observation. I would pour over Van Goghs reed pen and ink landscapes as well as the works of American illustrators James J. Spanfeller and MurrayTinkleman. The textures and patterns of M.C. Eschers woodcuts and Arthur L. Guptills drawings also served as inspiration. Today I work with a rapidograph pen or a fine line marker.
Both my works on paper and my ceramic pieces are inspired by many of the same subjects. The New Jersey farmland, farm houses, barns, and trees have helped to fuel my passion for making art. Living and traveling through Burlington County for many years has provided countless subjects for my work. The textures and patterns created by the South Jersey landscape fill me with joy as I travel down old country roads. I can honestly say I love where I live and work but there will always be a little bit of Massachusetts tucked away in my heart. Looking back .I can see just how much those early childhood experiences helped to form the creative life I have today.
Moving back and forth between the black and white of my
pen and ink drawings and the vivid colors of my tiles has been exhilarating.
So I will continue to work with both mediums, rejoicing in their differences