My mother was born in Scotland, and we are both wiry Scots thistles, determined and resilient.
As I was making this work, my first fully-scratch embroidery piece in a couple months, I was astonished at how much becoming interdisciplinary has improved my art.
Working in mixed media, textiles and sculpture has given me a confidence and freedom around using color in my paintings I never had before.
And working on all these different types of projects has allowed me a priceless feeling of flexibility and relaxation with my composition.
I was so rigid and so afraid when I first went to Parsons at seventeen. I used a six-zero Rapidograph to draw, and when I was supposed to do collage or sculpture projects I would stubbornly insist on making them figurative and realist.
Abstraction terrified me. It still does!
But practising disciplines of the decorative arts has given me trust in my own ability to makes shapes and patterns.
My mom watched me working on this and said, “You just sew it on there without any kind of pattern or reference?” I said, “Yup!” Artistic freedom is delicious.
Jazz, baby, true freedom within a structure. Sure, it’s fun to paint by the numbers, but that’s a cramped style, dig.
I am so excited to now have this beautiful thistle in my home. It looks “alive” to me, alive with my daughter’s wiry and resilient spirit.