Who is, or has been, the biggest influence on your art?
Most recently, Sakai Hōitsu, a Japanese painter from the early 19th century who was influenced by the style of Ogata Kōrin. I am drawn to his compositions and how he references flowers and the changing of seasons; the symbolism is understated yet powerful.
Which of your works is your personal favorite and why?
I have a fondness for Moonrise, violets & irises. The piece pays homage to my grandmothers, who loved flowers. Leona, my maternal grandmother, decorated her home in Lombard, Illinois with violets, the state flower and a symbol of modesty and humility. Toshi, my Japanese American grandmother, favored irises; although she repeatedly tried to grow irises in her garden in Gallup, New Mexico, the climate was too dry. By forming the irises out of porcelain, I give them a permanence that eluded Toshi, and evoke ideas of home and family, both actual and left behind.
Of all your travels, which city or place inspires you the most? Why?
I especially love hiking high in the mountains of Switzerland above a small village in the Rhone Valley. One immediately senses of the expansiveness of the Alps, but can also take in the smaller details, like the wildflowers, butterflies, streams, and colorful lichens covering the rocks. I’m able to fully absorb what I see for hours on end without any other distractions.
What is your creative process like?
When developing a new body of work, I usually create several small- to medium-scale pieces or installations to explore a variety of compositions and concepts. When dealing with larger work, I often generate hundreds of porcelain components that become part of the whole. It takes a lot of time to develop the pieces for a big installation, but I’m attracted to the rhythm generated when forms recur and energize the space around them.
What is something quirky or unexpected about you that most people don’t know?
Two things I haven’t yet crossed off my bucket list are to buy a nice pair of cowboy boots and fly in a hot air balloon.
How has your practice changed over time?
Since traveling to Jingdezhen in 2011, I have incorporated painting with underglazes into my studio practice. I have also experimented with how to display my multiples more effectively; placing porcelain components on a larger ceramic or wood backing has opened up new possibilities for installation.