my story . . .
I have always been an artist as long as I can remember. I was the kid who got a new coloring book and didn't get up from my seat until I colored every page. I have a very strong memory of sitting in my 3rd grade classroom and as my eyes scanned the clothes line of drawings strung above the teachers head...my drawing just POPPED! It radiated with an intensity as if the colors were leaping off the page. When I was the shy new kid in school, it was the art teacher who saw my gift and advised my fellow classmates to come to me if they needed help making their angels look like themselves. Not only did I enjoy the process ... but art would be my vehicle for connecting with the world. It helped a shy "middle child" stand out from the crowd and was a doorway to another world. A world of vibrant aliveness that would announce itself to me through scintillating color.
It wasn't until I moved back to Ohio after my father's death that I began to find my work. I had spent 6 months traveling out west with my sister exploring any road we choose to go down... we were trying to make sense of life. When I returned to Ohio I was doing gardening work and studying mysticism, Carl Jung and discovering the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver and Jane Hirshfield. I started walking along railroad tracks and picking up scrap metal and pulling beautiful spindles and furniture from my neighbors trash.Then one day I decided to make some planter boxes to combine my 2 loves - gardening and art. I had some left over tile from an arty tile floor I had just layed. I was having a yard sale so I set my planter boxes out in my yard that day.... beautiful monarch butterflies filled my yard... and not only did I sell the pieces but I had 4 gallery owners stop by and want my work .... and so the journey began. Over the next few years my boxes started growing legs, sporting poetry and then they started dancing and twirling and expressing themselves in very human and soulful ways. I started doing local art festivals and adding mirrors and eventually wallwork to my collection. To this day, I continue to follow my endless fascination with reclaimed objects, old wood, texture, color, spaciousness, nature and design. Now I travel the country to show my work and I have never been more sure of the power of art to bring hope and rejuvenation to both the maker and the viewer. Life and work have become a playful exploration filled with synchronicities, warmth and wonder.
Attending college at the Columbus College of Art and Design was a revelation and I slowly worked my way through 3 different majors as I soaked up the endless possibilities for expression. It wasn't until I took a ceramic class that I found my home. These were my people and clay sculpture would be my focus. I think I enjoyed the slower rhythm and tactile experience of the clay studio. My high school art teacher's observation "your gift is that you have the ability to take any medium and make it your own" might have been a clue that one process would never offer me the freedom that I needed. After college I moved out to the Hamptons and worked with my brother doing ornamental pruning on some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. I learned as much about art and life there as I did in college. Pruning taught me to take the big leap, then spend the rest of your time creating balance. I loved the process, being outside and moving freely about in my body as I created harmonious beauty. I worked on many artists, authors & directors properties and I got to not only observe their lives but see what it was like to actually live with art One weekend I was standing in the museum of Modern Art looking at paintings and the next week I would be standing on that artists property.... it was a surreal experience for someone from a small town in Ohio. Anything was possible in this world!
My assemblage boxes are where this whole body of work all began over 25 years ago ...
pssst ... mary gaye ... who gave you those scissors?