I am inspired by the colors and forms I see every day and close at hand in the garden, produce store, market, kitchen, and restaurant. A well-stocked produce stand or farmer’s market with its produce all neatly arranged is, to my eyes, an art form in itself.
Fruits and vegetables are objects I sculpt by hand in blown-up scale as a celebration of color and form. I am attracted to glass as a medium for this purpose because of its sculptural potential, glossiness, and ability to express vibrant color. Variations in color and form, both natural and unnatural, offer endless combinations, and working each piece by hand results in individual works that are unique. I have long been fond of the cherry form, with its creased flesh and long smooth stem, but I am enjoying exploring a variety of forms.
Drawing inspiration from fruit and vegetables as I see them in an urban setting causes me to think about how the equation of beauty with goodness (in this case, of taste) has changed in our society. The bulk of produce sold in markets today is grown and further manipulated more for beauty of presentation and longer shelf-life than goodness of taste. You will not see varieties that taste good but bruise easily or won’t last long at the supermarket. It seems to me that because people prefer to buy produce that looks good, we have conditioned ourselves to accept the limited range of goodness of taste that is available. When I bought a beautiful but expensive Forelle pear at a San Francisco market that came from South Africa, I went out and made one in glass. After I used it as a model, and still seduced by its beauty, I found it was one of the worst tasting, mealy pears I have had in quite awhile.
A large, good-looking—but ultimately hollow and tasteless—glass fruit or vegetable reveals the power of this seduction. In my current work, I focus more explicitly on how the beauty of produce is used to seduce people to consume it. I am working on a large-scale interpretation of the traditional produce crate—a fine historical example of seductive advertising—with labels that reference the works in glass that I have created and, in keeping with its original intention, serves as a way of presenting the works. I am also enjoying trying my hand at drawing, imaging, printing, and woodworking.
Nature, with its myriad varied forms, textures, colors, and structures, is my source of inspiration as a sculptor. Fruits and vegetables are objects I sculpt by hand in blown-up scale, exploring notions of idealism and variation, formation and deformation.
Sculpture is a relatively new passion. I have worked as a Sociologist for over twenty years, doing research to help improve the participation of people with disabilities in society. Several years ago, I had the urge to create with my hands. I had been following the studio glass movement for some time, and then I found Public Glass, a school and facility in San Francisco, where I blew my first bubble in 1998. Since then, I have taken several classes with master artists at Pilchuck, Haystack, CCA, and at Public Glass where I make my sculpture regularly with a team of assistants.