I live at the edge of the forest. In 1985, we bought an unfinished house in the middle of the woods in Charlestown and immersed ourselves in the hard work of finishing the house: pushing back the forest, rebuilding stone walls and using the wood for heat. As we worked manually on the land, the land worked on us. A deep “sense of place” was awakened in me; the meaning of that phrase was no longer metaphorical. I began to understand the land ecologically and sense the complex web of life and layers of history that exists around us.
Soon the boundary between the studio and outdoors dissolved. My intellectual and aesthetic bedrock, which had been so narrowly focused on art history, shifted. Earth history became the compelling force for my creativity and the making of my sculptures began with extensive walking and scavenging in the land, collecting natural elements such as rocks, roots, fungi, branches and logs. Back in the studio, these artifacts from nature become fragments of an earth narrative that I then begin to transcribe.
The walks continue today in other landscapes as well. The studio work has become just one component of a larger cycle of creative engagement with the environment. Making the art is a meditation; I must then go out and make these earth stories come alive in new communities and sites. Over the past decade, that has meant working in many different geographies, creating public art projects and private commissions that help deepen our connection to the natural and human history in the places where we live.
Here are a few examples of her work.