I live on a farm in the Oregon coastal range. My neighbors are primarily birds. I joyfully observe their daily lives and do my best to coexist symbiotically with them on our shared land. I provide seed to the juncos that overwinter, nest boxes and soft duck feathers for nesting material to the tree swallows in the spring and my house eves to the cliff swallows for their mud house colonies. In return they rid the property of mosquitos. The red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and harriers patrol the pasture and do their best to control the vole and gopher populations. Our douglas firs are like hotels for migrating song birds. It is a wonderful existence being surrounded by such gorgeous and fascinating animals. “The decorated bird” is the general idea that is the basis for my work.
Birds are fragile creatures, and they die easily and often. I was not prepared for the amount of death that would present itself to me when I moved away from a life in the city where it was easier to look the other way from such things. Birds fly into windows, fences and cars and break themselves. It is hard to watch a mated pair of swallows work diligently all season to raise a brood only to lose their fledglings to a bored barn cat. I found a way of coping and healing in my artwork.
Sculpting and decorating wooden forms is a meditative and reflective activity for me, and it is my way of honoring the lives of these creatures, wild and domestic. I draw inspiration from folk and primitive art traditions and the folklore and legends of indigenous cultures. I use repurposed and discarded materials, many gathered from my own homestead and surrounding acres. I facilitate the sacred reinvention of these materials and the spiritual renewal or release of the animal that they represent.