I have had a lifelong fascination with the bacterial mats at Yellowstone National Park. Three generations of my family would make what was almost an annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone. One of my earliest memories of Yellowstone and most consuming sensory experiences was at age 4 when I peeked over the side of the wood railings at Mammoth Hot Springs and eyed 'Minerva'. I was frozen with awe, completely convinced this was definitive evidence of extraterrestrial life on our planet. I wanted to know where they were. I continued asking where the gigantic fried eggs had come from until after many attempts at rephrasing my question, my mom was finally able to explain to me that these shapes were grown on our planet; our home was capable of creating intensely overwhelming living beauty.
For many years I have sought to combine my two artistic focuses, printmaking and feltmaking, both arduous, full-body processes that utilize repetition to build a finished piece. My realization of why I am drawn to these two practices and their remarkable similarities helped find a solution to this pursuit. I have long tested the boundaries of three-dimensionality through wet-felting, but through the addition of printing on a three-dimensional surface and then manipulating further the sculptural characteristics of the wool, I have found the vehicle that will enable me to explore and emulate the thriving bacterial mats from individual organism to multi-diverse microbiome within colonies.
These thermophylic bacteria, from Thermus aquaticus at Grand Prismatic Spring to the cyanobacteria at the Paint Pots and Mammoth Hot Springs, have persevered for 3 billion years, steamed, burbled, and calmly pushing through 5 earth ages. Their drive may be survival, but these living, pulsating expanses of bacterial colonies are constantly changing living canvases. Each time I have visited them, the bacterial mats have grown and morphed into a newly confounding arrangement of textures and colors. Their push for life is a body work. They have learned what is successful, adapted as necessary, and stayed with exquisite repetition. This is the same approach one must take with printmaking, as well as, feltmaking. I have the greatest awe and respect for these colonies of bacteria, their fissures, maps, trees, and fried eggs. While it can only serve to aggravate my obsession with 'Minerva' and the 'Grand Prismatic Spring' rather than quell it, my aim is to represent their body of work with my own.