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Visceral Manipulation (series)

My goal is to make work that is full of dichotomy and paradox… at once beautiful and gruesome, comforting and disturbing, alluring and repelling, familiar and unknown. I am ceaselessly interested in revealing unseen innards, at exploiting my fascination with things normally hidden—unselfconscious marks on secreted surfaces. The forms reference anatomy and viscera, further enhanced by a palette suggesting tissues, veins, muscle, fat, bone, fluids, etc.—alive and decaying. My work both shows and implies an inside. A need to physically engage with and intimately respond to the object as it slowly unfolds results in haptic work sized in direct relationship to my hands and body.

My work is solidly constructed from the inside out in layers of crochet, binding, knotting, looping, stitching, and wrapping with a variety of threads, yarns, twines, and fibers. Individually the pieces engender a personal history by physically containing and visibly documenting the obsessive and laborious construction processes rather than simply depicting (or hiding) them. The materials range from prosaic to unusual, natural to synthetic, and domestic to industrial. My process is akin to drawing—marks gradually transformed into form, layer upon layer—resulting in forms in which construction and surface are inseparable. This process enables me to realize forms that are clearly ordered but also with a kind of insistent spontaneity, or organized chaos—the juncture at which the calm of measured movement intersects with the violence of impulsive gesture. As the forms reference the body, so too does the use of thread reference the act of suturing.

Teetering on the brink of action, the pieces seem to embody the anticipation of turmoil—hinting at the moment just before, or right after, an incident of consequence takes place. Examining the work visually affords a passive sense of bearing witness to such an occurrence, whereas experiencing the piece through touch imparts a sense of intimate (perhaps conflicted) involvement. The pieces have no fronts or backs, tops or bottoms. They are not static pieces to be seen at a distance but rather dynamic objects with which to physically interact.

As individual objects, the pieces evoke organs and wounds while simultaneously seeming to make interoception tangible and the implication of fear visible. When grouped, the interlocking forms suggest interactions analogous to sexual and/or social relationships—intercourse, union, exchange, conflict, etc.—and the mending of fractures, literal and figurative. They seem to nestle and writhe, fight and surrender.

I aspire to create complex, honest work that defies definition and categorization, and compels the viewer to engage with it on their own terms. I am also interested in challenging notions about practical, domestic techniques synonymous with "women's work" and uprooting them. I have consciously used a lot of soft, fuzzy, baby and novelty yarns juxtaposed with overtly oppositional colors and textures to create an uneasy tension between beauty and failed beauty, function and dysfunction. The use of such yarns also results in work referencing old stuffed animals—profound memories of the security blankets of childhood prompted by the unexpected rediscovery of a well–loved, threadbare plush toy.

View all work currently in my store:

Read more about my process on the Etsy Blog feature:

Peel - 2008 - 8 x 11 x 8 inches

$3,000.00 USD
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  • Handmade item
  • Materials: thread, yarn, twine, fiber, wool, cotton, linen, wax, beeswax, linen thread, cord, string, waxed linen thread
  • Only ships to United States from Indiana, United States.
  • Favorited by: 95 people