Faces fascinate me—the variety of facial features, noses and chins, eye and skin color, the expressions conveyed by the curve of a smile, a pout, or a frown. Like many artists, I am drawn to human imagery. Nothing is more fun for me than to open up a kiln and see a shelf full of faces that I’ve made smiling up at me. I combine my handcrafted beads with beads from all over to world to create the jewelry in my Everyday People Collection. I feel the connection with others who like me, have used their hands to create their craft. My faces reflect their faces. I string my beads with theirs in circles, bracelets, and necklaces. We are all connected.
When I was a child in New Orleans, Sunday afternoon outings with my father included going to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of our ancestors. I wandered through the above ground cities of vaults and crypts, looking for headstones with family names, entranced by the sculptures and burial rituals. During the years I spent in California, I was introduced to Día de los Muertos, a day of remembrance for those who have gone before. This Mexican commemoration of the dead features altars and offerings laid out for the departed, sugar skulls and colorful skeletons depicted in daily activities. As an artist who grew up celebrating Mardi Gras and going to St. Joseph’s day altars, I draw inspiration for my Day of the Dead Collection from this lively Mexican tradition.
Archaeology—the material evidence remaining from past human life and culture. My beads are handcrafted from clay, a material used by the ancients, and I often use symbols from past cultures as surface texture and decoration in my Archaeology Collection. I think of my work as relics of the future. I hope my work contributes something more interesting to our civilization’s strata for future archaeologists poring through the detritus of our society than the mundane remnants of disposable razors and plastic pens.