Edge of Impression at Yasar University, Turkey

Working with a group of Turkish students in Izmir to make a piece which explores connection to each other and to nature using traditional Turkish needlework called Oya as inspiration. Oya is a variety of needle lace which is meant to be attached to the edge of a piece of fabric- usually a head scarf for women. Oya gained popularity in a time when women weren’t able to speak openly about problems in the family or about their sons or husbands- the oya was a way of working a secret language right into the pattern so that as the women were working, they might be having a perfectly innocuous verbal conversation but what they were silently communicating through the patterns was very different- literally craft as communication. Oya is meant to define a border, and the border is an interesting place. It is the edge where one thing becomes another, where negative space becomes positive, where art and craft and design and thought and action are all merging in the space between what’s there and what’s not.

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3 x 3 Session at 1708 Gallery

Plants and people are connected, and our lives are shaped by these connections on a very basic level.  The neighborhood of Jackson Ward, is a culturally and botanically diverse area with a long and varied history. I have seen the neighborhood of Jackson Ward change significantly over the past five years and it was the rapid nature of this change that inspired me to archive the botany and traces of the people of Jackson Ward as they are now, by examining the plants, meeting the people and discovering what specific connections exist between them.  

This body of work is the result of exploring cyanotype as a means of capturing and recording a ‘blueprint’ of Jackson Ward. The work produced for this exhibition was the result of a  partnership with 1708 Gallery, and assistance from BeautifulRVA. It is the visual representation of  the heart of this project, which was to map and archive the community as it exists today, and to ascertain meaningful ways this neighborhood may be benefited by this and future projects.  This project has allowed me to move in a different direction with my own work, but at the core, my focus is and always has been to inspire a shifted perspective on the way we view the natural world; to explore and appreciate what is so often overlooked and to realize the potential for existence in balance with nature.

Botany & Detritus of Jackson Ward, 2017, cyanotype on paper, 1708 Gallery