In 1982, I co-founded Heartwood in the Hills, “a school for the arts in the heart of the country, celebrating the artist in every person.” Its opening on my 40th birthday was a momentous occasion for me, the gateway to my calling, a place to pursue my goals as an artist and teacher. Teaching grounds me and connects me to people, which is good because so much of my work is in solitude in the art studio.
My work is very detailed and I go slowly carefully. I see each thing that I make as a stepping stone to the next one. I love wood. I love to hold and carve it and look for its secrets. I look for the figure in wood, and the rhythm in the way it grew. I especially love to carve branches and burls. My teacher Talmidge Geho used to say that I don’t carve wood, I scratch it. As I scratch, I’m imaging what’s going to happen when the oil goes on, and the figure comes up in all its glory.
A lot of sculpture goes into the masks. First I work with plasticine, and later modeling paste. I whittle and sand, similar to the way that I work with wood. The tarlatan technique that I learned from Paule Stein at the School for Movement Theatre is so easy and natural that I can work and be calm. My imagination is free to guide my actions and I’m able to be inventive with my materials.