I live, play, and explore on a big piece of property in Saugerties, New York—part of it was once used as a dump. You can find random items, old car parts, discarded tin cans, and glass bottles (treasures!). Like so many of us, I’ve been an artist from the very beginning, but it has been here on this treasure-filled land, where I have embraced my creative self with both arms.
My enthusiasm for art-making is bottomless, and my need for creative play is a necessary practice.
Whether I am creating a card or a hanging sculpture, painting a tiny image, or just placing marks on paper, I never lose sight of how lucky I am to be able to enter my studio every morning (well, almost every morning) and make things. There is no other word for what I am: a maker.
I make tiny things and big things. I paint, sew, and build. I fall in love with what some people call junk—stuff that is rusty, old, and broken, but still has soul. I collect decaying leaves and use them in collage. A swatch from a discarded wool sweater becomes a magical felted creature or an upcycled neck warmer. I allow my creative spirit to roam where it needs. Creating dreamlike worlds is my forte: I layer paint, ink, paper, and wax, and experiment with different media, bright colors, and funky brush strokes. These worlds transport me to fairy realms.
I’d like to believe that my child-like delight is always awake. Being able to find beauty in pretty much anything is one of the things that uplifts me on a daily basis. When I’m away from my studio, I never leave my creative impulses behind: my “crafting bag” full of markers, pens, watercolor paints, different kinds of paper, scissors, glue, and more, is with me at all times.
Finding my way into the creative process, and letting go, is not always easy, but even when it’s difficult, I come away with a rewarding nugget. And those nuggets carry me through and push me forward. (“Diamonds” truly are a girl’s best friend!)
how I got here
The scene: I am ten years old. Lying on my belly on the living room floor. Sun streaming in. Dolly Parton’s song “Love Is Like a Butterfly” is playing on the record player. Paper and crayons at hand. The joy of creative anticipation all around me. I feel peaceful, calm, alive.
I begin to draw…
The rainbow I make is nothing like what I’ve been imagining in my head. The colors, marks, and shapes don’t reflect the sense of peace I felt when I began. The moment is torn away, the gift of creative expression smothered. These are my first conscious moments of self-loathing. In my mind, my drawing is terrible and ugly, and the pleasure of the art-making process, of being in the here and now with my crayons and paper, is replaced with shame, sadness, and disappointment.
My journey into art-making has been about mending this relationship. Making art is the vehicle for learning to love myself and those around me—my path to “real connection.”
Now, all these years later, when I enter my studio to make more rainbows, I mindfully practice kindness, care, and compassion—toward myself, my materials, and my subject matter. Through this practice I connect with myself, with you, and with the divine. Art-making is the energy that carries me through my daily life, the source of my deep optimism and my overwhelming faith in the creative spirit, my superpower and my gift. With it I can travel back in time to love the sweet ten-year-old girl I was, drawing a rainbow on her living room floor.