Reflections on older (forgotten) work.

After attending a lecture by Nick Deford yesterday, I started thinking about some of the MA work from 2007 that I have apparently completely blocked from my memory.

I’m not sure why these works have escaped my notice these past couple of years as many of the themes I am currently exploring were evident then as well.

Deford is very interested in maps. Seeing his work made me think about my earlier use of dressmakers patterns as forms of topographic maps overlaid onto dressmakers dummies or silhouettes. This created the appearance that the areas of the body were being mapped like continents.

Fenced, 2007, 13x16 inches, mixed media
Fenced, 2007, 13x16 inches, mixed media
Untitled #5, 2007, 12×12 inches, mixed media on panel
Worried Seam, 2007, 14×14 inches, mixed media

Deford’s use of embroidery reminded me of works in which I hand-stitched Assyrian ornaments onto photographs which referenced iconic figures as a way to explore identity.

Full Circle, 2007, 16×16 inches, mixed media
Self-Portrait as Egon Scheile, 2007, 8×10 inches, mixed media
Self-Portrait (detail), 2007, 8×10 inches, mixed media

Many of the self-portraits were typical indulgent student work but I was searching for myself  and desperately trying to figure out who I was. I was enamored with Egon Scheile and decided to take a page from his book and explore myself through the character of others. This is why many of these works were not included in my thesis work at all.

In these old pieces I explored the same issues of identity and individuality that are present in my current work. Rather than the image of myself, I am using birds – instead of ornament, I am using pattern.

Ascension, 2010, 35×46 inches, ebony on paper

Pieces like Ascension, which features an abstracted flock of birds, discusses the ability to find a sense of place – of home – in the same way as previous pieces that used imagery of dressmakers dummies and patterns.

Where ever you go… there you are…

During my search for these old works, I stumbled across some unfinished embroidery projects from the first semester of my MFA program. At the time I was very interested in bagworm moths and created prints, paintings, and drawings of the nests in my yard. I found it curious that bagworm moths were so unremarkable to the scientific community that they were simply categorized by their sex organs, and additionally, were one of the most loathed “back-yard-bug.”

unfinished work, 2008, 3x6 inches, embroidery

I am actually surprised that I forgot how attracted I was to the pages and pages of tiled images of damaged bagworms I’d found several years ago when I began collecting damaged butterflies this past fall… More often lately I’ve found instances where themes like this have often been mis-identified or overlooked in the past.

Looking back, it is funny to note just how consistent I’ve really been despite my view that I’ve always been a little all-over-the-place…


  1. Sometimes I think forgetfulness is a gift because it allows you to come back to a connection as though it’s fresh. You can see new things that way.

    It’s also interesting that within your work you have consistently maintained an aesthetic that is beautiful and thoroughly controlled.

    Nick Deford has some interesting work. I’ll have to look at it again when I’m at home.

    1. I think you have a good point about forgetfulness being a gift… well stated.

      You would have like Deford’s presentation and the way he went from one thought to the next – it considerable helped his work (which is already good).

      And, thanks for the comment on my work too. 🙂

      Enjoy your trip, look forward to hearing about it when your return.)

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