“When I talk about my work, I think it is important to begin with my philosophy. I want to approach each piece I make as a brand-new piece of art, and bring a serious-mindedness to even the most whimsical piece. I want to blur the line between art and craft, and to me, that means that each piece starts from scratch, with the opening of the clay package. I never use molds, casts, or dies. My shapes and textures do not come from kits, but are approached new each time. Even my colors are customized and I almost never use the color fresh out of the package.
People ask me “why” a lot about my art. Unlike a painter, who certainly has a point of view that informs their work, people often need not just my perspective, but my medium explained. I’ve worked with polymer clay (such as Sculpey) off and on since 1997, and it is very familiar to me. I also appreciate the physical aspect of it: it is a thing that I make with my own two hands, which people can pick up, examine, and even wear. I have a lot of chances to make it right.
My disabilities are important to the work I do: one day in 2010, I woke up with a burning pain in many of my joints. Over the months, it spread all over my body and became a constant, consuming ache. Since that morning, I have had only a handful of pain-free days, and have experienced become more disabled. I lost experiencing the city first, then attending school, working, leaving my room. At twenty-six, I started having a lot of serious discussions with family, friends, health care workers, and other mentally and physically ill people about “maintaining my independence,” a phrase I associated with bad elderly actors on infomercials. One of the things that I really appreciate about my medium is that I can do art in my bed, swaddled in heating pads, waiting for my hands to stop shaking or for medication to kick in.
In this medium, my smallness is good.
When it comes to food as my subject matter, it feels natural somehow. It’s simply something that I enjoy, and its commonplaceness presents an interesting challenge. Working in miniature, I experience my subjects deeply, building and avocado from the pit outward. Sometimes it’s not just a matter of what a food looks like, but what it feels like, and how people imagine it.
A meaning has developed for me as I work on this project. I’ve had eating disorders for fifteen or more years. My miniature food sculptures are permanent and inaccessible as well as a celebration of food, reflecting my complicated relationship with my subject.”
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