When my embroidery needle is pulled through a taut fabric, and a word is deliberately spelled out, my intention becomes realized. My intention: deconstruction. Topics I relish dissecting are media messages, gender roles and societal norms. From a feminist perspective, I am specifically interested in female roles, some self-chosen, many subconsciously affected by familial and social conditioning.

All of these issues are questioned in my American flag “Potential” as I consider the way that nursery rhymes, gender based toys and movie characters all impact male and female life choices. In this piece, symbols from our culture, such as a cutout from a Ninja Turtle t-shirt, found GI Joe toys, as well as war images, including a child injured from cluster bombs and caskets from the Vietnam War, are right next to images of Cinderella and the embroidered words which mock the rhyme, “Sugar and Spice and everything nice.” Clearly, socialization affects everything, from how we form our identities to how we wage war. Textile work allows me a blank canvas to explore these puzzles by incorporating contrasting text, images and thoughts.

The human desire to “belong” is one part of the complex process of cultural assimilation and is something I focus on in my art. For example, in my quilt “No”I beautify something that has been characterized as a negative: the act of saying “no.” Specifically, I refer to women and “no.” Often times, there are negative connotations with this word. Children are reprimanded and sometimes controlled with “no,” which can create a distaste for this verbal symbol. Young women are socialized to believe that saying “no” to men and authority figures is not acceptable. This piece recognizes the act of saying “no” as positive. Although the piece speaks to both sexes, it particularly reflects females, celebrating our right to wander through our own processes, make our own decisions, and when the time is right, respond with “No.”

In many ways, my work is autobiographical in nature. Assuredly, when I take apart an issue, I include myself in the research. Due to my significant interest in the subconscious nature of myth adoption, I have an alter ego who is an observer and keeps me informed about the myths I am failing to question, the words I am forgetting to use. In addition, like many artists, I pick up a medium that allows me to express feelings about my lineage and gender. The line of women ancestors in my family has always been involved with fiber work. However, in contrast to the traditional ways women have expressed their creativity with precision in utilitarian work (i.e. clothes, quilts, aprons), I seek imperfection in my artistry. In this way, I can say “no” any conditioning which might have taught me that perfection was valuable. My work reclaims the undervalued artistry of seamstresses and quilters, referencing liberated women who sew and embroider outside the box.


What I wish for my viewers is to experience a sense of familiarity. A mirror, a reflection. A question. An answer.