An experience, object, or image can be both precisely and mysteriously described or depicted and thus can embody both physicality and disembodiment.—Robert MacFarlane—Landmarks
My process begins with my own photographs. I take these quickly, with purposeful spontaneity, so the images will retain some of the fleeting immediacy of moving through a space. My recent works depict places that invite the viewer to move into the piece—into places where the viewer might imagine themselves being. In a sense, the images may suggest a narrative without telling a specific story. Instead, the story becomes a response the viewer has in relationship to the place within the piece—either personally remembered or imagined.
I have two main subjects in my recent work: landscapes and buildings (and other human artifacts). In both I focus on the precise and the particular as a way of describing a larger whole. A place is defined by a set of unique details. These details are revealed by the light and in turn the details reveal the quality of light—and so reveals the visual dependency between the stability of the physical and the ever-changing transitory.
Artists often use composition to direct our eye movement through an artwork. I hope to contrast the implied eye movement with a specific captured moment and place. A photograph captures that specific moment, but I always change the image (sometimes a little and sometimes a lot) to remake that moment in my imagination. The relatively slow process of embroidery adds the element of time, contemplation, and attention to detail. I try to be true to the quality of a place while also using personal choices to influence the final image.
I see my work as a marriage of photography and embroidery. I alter my photographs on a computer and transfer them to fabric. No part of the stitching process is computerized. I stitch the piece with a basic sewing machine. I lower its feed dogs so I can move the fabric freely as I sew, allowing me to control the length and density of stitches as needed.
The stitches are like pencil hatching. Different colors of thread are layered throughout each piece to enrich the colors. These layers become so dense that none of the original image or fabric shows. I find the fine scale of thread to be an extraordinary tool for describing details, and this discovery has allowed my work to continually evolve.