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, 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 more complex, layered, longer 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 metaphor subtly, preferring to hint rather than tell. Often, I try to imagine the experience of a viewer and their interaction with the work before I seek 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 students and community volunteers. I am energized by organizing team workers, and by collaborating with engineers, architects, and skilled fabricators. When I encourage everyone involved to contribute wholeheartedly to 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, has allowed me to take part in a special back-and-forth between artist and artisan. I love the challenge of stretching glassmakers’ abilities at the same time as honoring tradition, and pushing stylistic boundaries.
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 de Bono in my studio teaching.