Photo Credit: Russel Knight
An Artist Statement
I grew up in a family of women artists. Textiles, embroidery, and wood carving were our visual language. Abstracted shapes and forms were our words.
Each time I pick up a brush or my scissors I immerse myself in the language of my family. As I abstract flowers, trees, and all the colors of nature, I speak my mother tongue. This language brings me closer to my family, our visual traditions, history and stories.
Our move to Seattle was a break for freedom. I had running on my mind. I wanted to break with the past, revolt against my heritage, live life on my own terms. This was a chance to spread my wings, and see what I could do. I thought that if I moved away, I would discover a magical place where all my dreams would come true. Seattle was where I would become an artist.
I suppose the next question is, did I discover all that I was looking for? Answers are never easy. The Pacific Northwest’s mountains, bodies of water, and forests were inspiring, but they weren’t home.
The bustle of the city was invigorating at first, but then became exhausting…And the work, the work was consuming. Paradise turned into a land full of traffic jams, loud noises, and cramped spaces. They only way to contact family was by phone or plane. Luckily older parents, new generations, and a dream of a better quality of life called us back to Iowa. What we found was a surprising calm.
When we first moved back to Iowa, the thing that surprised me most was how much calmer I felt. In that calmness, I started to feel my creativity emerging from somewhere deep inside. I remembered my language, I discovered my words, my heritage, and my family.
Who knew that row after row of corn and beans would be the thing that made my heart sing? That oak trees, small rivers, creeks, and prairies would be the images that spurred my imagination?
Who Knew? My heart did.
And that is how I came to understand that Iowa was the Land of my Heart.
The Iowa landscape contains the stories, and history of my family. Being reunited with it allows me to reconnect with something that I didn't even know I missed until it was gone.