As I create, my intention is to simply let the most interesting parts of the plant world be revealed. I don’t force certain forms or change color or otherwise manipulate what nature has produced. My hope is only to capture and see beauty where it is presented. When by chance I’ve collected something with potential, it’s a challenge to be open to the possibility of unexpected beauty, something that I’ve not seen before.

People often say the finished pieces appear to be Zen-like, with strong Asian influences.

Certainly the underlying principles of Zen philosophy are inherent in my work:  the acceptance and contemplation of imperfection, flux, and impermanence.

The Japanese principle of Wabi Sabi, which considers the beauty of something to be in its imperfections, also guides my work. Discolored, disfigured, insect ravaged, weather beaten, and aged plant material make for great visual interest. Taken out of context and presented so we can clearly see it, degredation becomes compelling.

I practice something painters in eighth century China learned from the teachings of Taoism, which let them to `intended the unintentional.” What they accomplished was more through them than of their own will. They were present…. and allowed. This is exactly what happens when I spend hours collecting. Preserved material looks completely different than when it’s fresh. I have to be completely open when I unfasten a press. Everything is different, every time.  

This same philosophy was at work in Dadaism, which is essentially: `the absence of any ulterior motive.I find that the more I try to make something to be, the less it works. The only thing that works for me is to find it and allow. Once I decided a whole press of twigs was uninteresting. I emptied it to compost the pile and realized I loved that pile. The finished piece of the pile of sewn twigs is one of the best things I’ve done.

The most interesting things I do are beyond the limits of my own imagination. The best art is more of an exploration: the finished pieces, are the result of an adventure.


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