My current body of work is a preoccupation with my lifelong fascination of 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
'Medusa', one of the largest of the bacterial mats. 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 these 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, steaming, burbling, 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 for survival, 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 'Medusa' and the 'Grand Prismatic Spring' rather than quell it,
my aim is to represent their body of work with my own.