My ceramic sculptures focus on the impact of the Atomic Age on American society beginning in 1939, continuing through the Cold War era to the present day. World War II, along with social and economic changes, led women into and then out of what were previously male dominated roles. Soldiers returning from WWII transitioned into civilian roles as husbands and fathers, with a strong commitment to providing for his nuclear family. The new flourishing economy of the 1950’s allowed families for the first time to afford private homes such as in the Levittown communities, the first structured, suburban type of housing developments. Along with being affordable, these communities also came with rigid rules for living in the new society. This newly reestablished desire for domesticity was overshadowed by the development and use of nuclear weapons. The ensuing weapons race between the Soviet Union and the United States and our interest in using “our friend the atom” to generate bountiful, cheap nuclear energy firmly established the nuclear age.
My interest in these specific eras is a result of my studies into our Nation’s history. The stories of the people who were directly affected by the development of nuclear technology and the social changes of the last century are so memorable and rich in historical significance. That these events are so relevant to us today leads me to imagine that we, as individuals, are shaped partially by the decisions of our ancestors, no matter how many generations removed. Our lives are like transparencies in a stack. Though the two might not touch, the images overlap and show through, creating a new identity. I am a product of the contributions of family members past, of our society, of our world and of my own choices. My work illustrates in a narrative fashion those stories and historical elements of our Nation’s past that have contributed to my identity as an American.
Jewelry is the artform that is worn against the body. Artists who design jewelry have the added tasks of not only making an attractive piece of work but it must also function well, be comfortable to wear and have durability. A well designed piece of jewelry must adorn the wearer without causing discomfort or added concern. These are the many angles I consider in these works. Hot molten glass, gas fueled torches, hammers and anvils are my tools. The direct manipulation of raw materials is the attraction. The glow of glass hot enough to run, the sound of metal striking metal and the hiss of hot metal plunged into water. Acid eats and etches into metal. Stones from the earth. The colors, subtle and romantic, bright and toy like, warm copper, cool silver…they all have their own appeal, all of these tactile personalities against the skin are undeniably attractive to me as an artist.