Part 1 History
I grew up in the country on an acre that provided land for our large garden, barn for chickens and various 4H animals (all of which made their way to our table) and trees for climbing and reading. I am the oldest of 3; my brothers are 2 and 4 years younger than me. We camped for vacations, participated in 4H and scouts, played piano and percussion. I played softball and was an avid reader. I learned to sew from my mother - first for 4H projects and went on to make clothes including my senior prom dress. We were 6 country miles from town and a long distance phone call to friends.
When I was 16 my parent divorced. I moved into town with my mom and my brothers stayed in the country with my dad, though the 3 of were together every weekend and twice a week for meals. What seemed unconventional in retrospect, made perfect sense at the time. I was closer to my friends, my brothers were still in 4H so they were closer to the animals. I felt like my parents had a pretty amicable divorce, at least one that I did not feel the ill effects of.
I was always a rule follower good girl in High school and college. I did very well in school earning straight As and participating in the gifted program. I went to Bowling Green State University in Ohio. It is a state school set in a rural environment. It felt more like home and comfortable to me compared to larger schools in an urban setting. My software year, I switched majors from Home Ec Ed to Interior Design. I spent two summers living in Cleveland, Ohio (big city) with my grandfather working internships in the design field. I also had a second job for more social interactions with my peers and to keep me busy in the evenings. In college, I worked at the circulation desk at the library and spent two summers waitressing. I helped pay for 1/2 of my college expenses. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design.
After graduation, I moved to Cleveland. I worked and was let go from my first design job during a recession. I was able to fall back on my waitressing to get me through the job search and a series of design relation jobs for a year. I was hired back to TRW as a facility planner - one of my internship jobs. I worked there for 8 years. I spent time at a furniture dealership working from my home office in design/sales capacity for the K12 market. That job sucked my very soul out.
All through my early career I started making art. I took a painting class, considered going back for my masters in Art Therapy. My mom took me to see Quilt National and all of a sudden everything clicked. I could make art and use my sewing skills. From that point, I worked primarily with fabrics, then hand dyed cottons to create my art pieces.
I wanted to combine my advocation with my vocation for my next job. I was hired for a new non profit that advocated on behalf of regional artist in the market. When that organization closed down, I started my own art consulting business. With the intention of carving out a day of week to work on my own artwork. I found that I allowed clients to rule, I answer the phone first and work on projects before I ever allow myself the time to ‘play’ in my studio. I also have found that I am saturated with looking at artwork, problem solving or project management and have little energy to give to my own creativity at the end of the day. The art consulting business is a great fit for me though, as I am able to marry my skills from years of project management and design with sourcing the right artwork for clients. I love the large scale projects that have my brain working on left brained and right brained activities throughout the day.
I met my husband while working at TRW. He did furniture installations for me at the time. We were friends for 2 years before dating. I refused to date him because of work and we had the same name and that would be too weird (Chris/Christy). After 2 years of dating we married at age 29. 17-1/2 years later and he’s been the best thing for me in my life. We have a nearly 14 year old daughter. His support and having one child has really allowed me to have the time to grow a business and explore my creativity.
We live on the west side of Cleveland with one dog and soon to be one kitten. We are an active family. We typically take hiking vacations or plan get aways that revolve around running or races. I am a runner and typically train for half marathon distances. I recently started trail running and am planning to train in the fall for a trail 50k race. I am an avid stand up paddleboarder. I try to get out on Lake Erie as often as I can, from sunrise paddles in the summer to wetsuits and booties on sunny cold weather days. I find paddling almost meditative and am constantly in awe of the changing weather conditions, changing light from season to season and the water patterns that I observe on the water. I am very much interested in pursuing longer distance paddles and learning to paddle surf. I practice yoga and run Ragnar relay races with friends.
The last two years I have been slowed down with a thyroidectomy and recurring vertigo caused by Meniere’s Disease. Energy ebbs and flows, but I am so adamant about not letting it define me or restrict/confine me. We eat a primarily vegetarian diet and are interested in whole foods. We like to experiment with new recipes and trying new restaurants.
My daughter will be a freshman in high school next year and this starts a new phase for all of us as well. My mom is still alive and active. She and I share a birthday which has always been a special day for us. She lives 1-1/2 hour away and I wonder what the next ten years hold for me in caring for her. Three of my grandparents have lived to age 90 or above.
Part 2 Process
I typically research an area that I am interested in for a new piece. I use the location as a starting point for geographic map imagery. Additionally, I source plant images, outlines or shadows. I use a projector to enlarge my images. The images are traced multiple times on fusible webbing. Working with my hand dyed fabrics, I select a color palette to work with, iron on the the shapes. I hand cut the shapes out and arrange the pieces onto a background fabric. I typically do quilting on the pieces before finishing the edges.
Hand dyeing is a summer process that takes 1 plus days. I typically prepare fabrics and dyes the day before. The morning that I dye, I take everything outside, set up my tables and spend the day mixing colors, setting timers, adding the solutions. Then rinsing and finally washing and sorting. These become my palette to work from though the year.
I love the meditative aspects of the hand cutting gand the more intuitive or unplanned aspects of layering the imagery. How the colors work together and peek around each other. In the past, I have done layered plant images OR aerial maps. I am strait to plan and envision how these elements are combined.
Part 3 Content
- land use
- water tables
- how they are depleted in farm areas
- chemical leaks from fracking
- how to support desert living
- how space/land is organized
- how farmland disappears with development
- environmental impact
- stormwater run off
- clear cut of trees for development
- time lapse of how land use has changed over time
- how different farming practices yield different space arrangements (aerially views)
- water waste basins
- leaks and infractions
- affects in community
- how things look from a plane
- where we run
- how land fits with natural vs. built environments
protection of freshwater
finished and unmessy
pretty or beautiful and nice to look at - not dark