Throughout history, textiles have documented cultural thought using symbols, allegory, and literal narrative woven into tapestries and other pictorial textiles. In my most recent series of work, I am weaving portraits of women I know whose stories parallel the broader issues facing women today. Using this ancient craft, largely associated with women’s work, I am weaving portraits in a loose, open structure that is fragile, yet strong, as a way of describing a new energy of women’s voices rising up around the globe.
One of the major global concerns that has influenced the process of my work, thus the form my work has taken, is the ever-increasing emphasis on water accessibility. Over a decade ago, during the 2008 US Presidential election, I was struck by the fact there was no mention of the growing water crisis, even though published reports stated that 40% of the world’s population would be affected by water scarcity. As an individual artist, the one way I could conserve water was to stop dyeing my own yarn. I replaced color with white or natural by using the varying thicknesses of linen to explore how transparency and density in weave structure can convey images, thereby eliminating the vast amount of water used in the dyeing process. I have been exploring weaving in this way ever since, as the issue of climate change intensifies.