Photography credits: Kristen Davis | Dave Davis
I was one of those kids that took every art class I could in high school, but thought I needed to do something “sensible” for college. I eventually wound up in computer science, but at the beginning, that meant teaching and, as luck would have it, one of the classes for education majors included a single class on block printing. That’s what stuck in my head, although it had to rest there for several years until I rediscovered it.
While going through infertility treatments, I needed something that would keep my brain and my hands busy. Something that felt free. I eventually came full circle when I picked up relief printing once again. That was four years ago and I haven’t looked back.
My motto is: keep exploring and keep evolving. While my work tends to consist of organic lines and shapes, my sketchbook is chock full of anything that inspires me - lines, shapes, faces, nature - no subject is off limits. Relief printing allows me to absorb the world and then put forth the images I see.
I use my sketchbook to define an image in my head — to get it out of my head — and it’s this picture that I transfer to a linoleum block for carving. It's this bit of the process that's like therapy. It allows me to turn off my brain, to block out the noise of the everyday, and fully focus and immerse myself into creating a small relief sculpture that I will then ink and print. Pulling that first proof off a new block is always exciting; I have an image of what I think it'll look like, but it's this proof that forms the actual picture — this is the final step in taking an image from my imagination and making it real.
After that first print, I make tweaks to the block, carving and proofing until I believe it's finished, or at least allowed to escape.
I honestly can't remember why I tried printing on on that first piece of fabric. I just know that when I did, it was magic. While paper is the preferred vehicle for printing for most printmakers, it's the different types of natural fabric that make sense to me; the fabric informs the design, and the design informs the fabric, each building up the other. It just feels natural.
I am often asked where it is that I find inspiration. And the truth is everywhere, but it's life experiences, travel and daydreaming often formulate ideas for new pieces. You just need to be aware and open to the muse. It could appear while looking down and noticing the lines in the sidewalk.Or, it could be a flock of geese flying in a 'V' formation. Perhaps the way the sun hits the beams of a bridge on my drive home.
My hope is to cause the viewer to stop and take a moment, whether it be a simple printed tea towel, or a more complex wall panel. A moment to explore the lines, the pattern, the image. Art is communication, and I strive for my work to communicate my best self to the world.