Photo by Nikki Moon
My connection with nature began even before I can remember. According to my mother, as she walked to the market pushing me in a stroller, I insisted on stopping to smell every flower we passed. Nature continued to support me by providing solace through the vagaries of adolescence as I walked on the isolated winter beach in my hometown of Asbury Park, NJ.
My first artistic influence was learning to knit and sew from my mother and grandmother. But it was a home economics class in middle school that triggered my desire to express myself through textiles and fiber. I started knitting non-stop and designing and making all my clothes in high school.
As an American Studies major in college, I learned about traditional crafts and decided to try for myself. I spent a season at Peter’s Valley Crafts School in Layton, NJ studying spinning and weaving. Excited by my first experience of a rural environment and influenced by the culture of the time, the stage was set for my back-to-the-land move to Vermont. I lived in a tent until January while building a house with my partner, had my baby at home with no running water, thawed drain pipes under the house at 25 below with wet rags.
I learned about my new environment in friendlier ways as well. I ferreted out the farmers that had the best spinning fleeces for sale, walked the woods and fields gathering plants I was learning to use for dyeing, and growing an overly large organic garden. I developed innovative knitting techniques and the pieces I created were displayed in regional craft shows, ACC shows in Rhinebeck, NY and Baltimore, MD as well as on Newbury Street in Boston. During this time I also set forth on my path of personal and spiritual growth that continues to this day.
Single motherhood postponed the professional aspect of my work but never dampened my need to create. I traveled to Boston to participate in a group called Explorations in Color. I studied color with students of Suzanne Caygill, founder of the concept of personal color, and continued to co-create with nature by creating lush gardens for myself and others as well as making and using my own flower essences. And of course I continued to design and create clothing for myself and my daughter who went on to study costume design.
After a move to the sun and warmth of Sarasota, FL in 2003, I discovered clay. I dove in hands first taking classes locally and discovered that the pinching technique had the same immediacy for me as spinning yarn or digging in the dirt. Moving back to the mountains in 2010, this time near Asheville, NC, I have found a supportive environment for combining working with my hands in clay, connecting with nature on many different levels and for my spiritual journey. My greatest desire is to share these loves with others.