My British art-school training has shaped the way I work. I think of myself as an artist, designer and craftsperson; and I love it when one area of my bailiwick influences another.
In my gallery work, and with model making, I often think through my hands -engaging with materials and methods directly. When I work this way, I find tackling each process or problem, old or new, is comforting, nourishing, and familiar. Like writing poetry perhaps, it’s first-personal, contemplative and quiet.
Making public artwork, on the other hand, feels more like writing prose. It’s a longer, layered, complex process, where creativity is woven with compromise. Formally, the works engage viewers by the interplay of light, color, surface, and activated space. I try to incorporate narrative and use metaphor subtly, wanting to hint rather than tell. Often, I try to imagine the experience of a viewer and their interaction with the work before I generate it’s form. This way I can direct the design towards an ideal outcome, sharpening and refining as I go. In the development, fabrication, and installation of my architectural work, I seek out ways to engage others and to work collaboratively with a broad range of individuals, including my students and volunteers from the community. I am energized by organizing team workers, and by partnering with engineers, architects, and skilled fabricators. By encouraging each of them to contribute to improving the artwork, the product is not only improved beyond measure, it becomes theirs too, increasing its role and relevance.
Designing for glass factories like Rosenthal and Blenko, allows me to take part in a special back and forth between artist and artisan. I love the challenge of stretching the glassmakers’ abilities and pushing stylistic boundaries, at the same time as honoring the tradition and identity of the company. It has to be new, but also has to be clearly theirs, (pun intended).
Recently, as a consultant to a ground-breaking makerspace initiative in Indianapolis, I have researched tools and techniques for creativity testing and training. Adding to years of using techniques developed by Edward DeBono in my studio teaching.