I graduated Massachusetts College of Art with BFA in painting and illustration and quickly discovered I needed a job. Luckily, I’d spent all four years of work-study in Mass Art’s library. In 2014, I retired from a fantastic position as Archivist and Librarian at the Arnold Arboretum that I loved but, finally after 42 years, wished done and over. Since then I’ve thrown myself into doing all those wonderful things that existed only in the periphery of my life.
Though I’ve recently strayed into acrylics and oils my primary medium is watercolor which I hope someday to master. I usually begin outdoors doing a comprehensive study of the subject with photographs and multiple sketches. Often the finished product doesn’t incorporate any of the drawings, or look at all like the photographs, but the preparation helps me find the center of what I am trying to capture.
Sometimes I paint with grim determination other times with great joy. I paint fast and furiously then step back until I feel in tune with what see in my mind’s eye. If I’m lucky the pauses don’t show and the piece works itself out.
My other medium is working with textiles. I walk Hull’s shoreline all year long, but in winter could never keep my hands warm. When the Fuller Craft Museum offered a class in mitten making for 9-year old’s and up I thought, well why not! Since then I’ve been making mittens with repurposed wool sweaters, which I needle felt, sometimes adding embroidery stitches, and then line with the softest of more repurposed wools. The process of finding and selecting usable sweaters feeds my hunter-gatherer instincts and my penchant for thrift.
My needle felting is the opposite of my painting style; my mind just wanders, or I listen intently to audio books, while my hand hums along finding its own way. I relish taking a simple and useful object and transforming it into wearable art. Making mittens on commission enables me to create a truly personal piece. So, if you have a favorite wool sweater you can no longer wear, I’ll be happy to turn it into a pair of mittens for you!