Artist Statement

                                         

       My most recent work explores the boundary between exotic and common plants, and how that perception changes in response to time and location. I show this through images of flowers that have traveled from places like China, Haiti, Peru, and Turkey via the Dutch East India Trading Company and the Silk Road to Europe and, in some cases, have become state flowers in America more than five hundred years later. The flowers I draw are depicted in the style of botanical illustration and are combined with images of cultural landmarks and medieval compass roses to give a sense of history, travel, and discovery. My fascination with flowers like these started in my own garden when I moved from a subtropical climate to a temperate one, and noticed that the plants that were considered normal where I grew up were uncommon there and vice versa. As I began to cultivate these new plants, I learned more about their journeys and origins, whether they were gifts from foreign monarchs, little plants brought to appease mothers after unexpectedly long voyages, or even traded amongst rival merchants for their weight in gold. Most of the history I find about these plants is accompanied by hand drawn sketches and annotations about their location, environment, and cultivation which I use as reference material for making my own drawings.

        Creating and decorating these vessels is a labor-intensive act, both in growing the flowers and in depicting them. In my drawings, I try to capture the triumphant and momentary transition from blossom to bloom through inlaying black slip into porcelain to create line drawings. I then air-brush underglazes on to the background to evoke qualities of light as it changes over the course of a day spent in the garden, from early dawn, through midday, and into twilight.  In this way, my ceramic work becomes a chronicle of my own exploration of where these flowers come from and how that impacts my experience of them in day to day life.