1. Describe your normal studio or workspace.
My studio is a 19th c. wood frame house next door to my home. I purchased the building in 2001 and began a thorough renovation to make it functional. What was a 1400 sq. ft. house has now become a perfect studio space across the yard from my home. I added features to make the building more purposeful for an art studio – a cathedral ceiling with skylights, LED lighting, double entry doors, a wide drive for truck access, and storage structures on the grounds. The building is a pleasure to work in.
2. Describe your workplace in a time of social distancing or isolation.
My studio is large enough to allow for social distancing when I have assistants, students, or visitors. My work, by nature, involves many solitary hours. I spent most of 2020 alone in my studio creating the mosaics Stations project.
3. How has sharing your work with co-creatives or others shifted?
Show cancellations because of the pandemic were a definite setback for us artists. Although I use social media to display what I’m working on, there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact with patrons and dialoguing with other artists. In 2020, I stepped up my print ads to reach patrons, and I stayed in touch with artist colleagues via email, facetime and messaging.
4. What is your favorite non-art activity that inspires you?
I have some background in languages. I really enjoy practicing French and Spanish and I’m learning a little Latin. Conjugating verbs, practicing dialogue, listening to music in a foreign language gives me a sense of mental clarity.
5. How has working in a socially distant environment affected your work?
It was very disappointing to have shows and exhibit receptions cancelled because these are vital to keeping an artist motivated. However, 2020 was still quite a productive year because my 14-panel mosaic project required many months of in-studio hours to accomplish.
6. What is your favorite go-to snack after long hours working on your artistic practice?
Gluten-free pretzels are my favorite snack.
7. What are one or two of your favorite books that resonate with you and/or your practice?
My favorite novel is Jane Eyre. I love the detailed visual imagery and the artistic personality of the main character, Jane. My favorite non-fiction book is the Diary of Anne Frank.
8. Who are one/two of your favorite artists that inspire you?
The mosaic artist who most inspires me is Mary Chase Perry Stratton (1867-1961), who forged an amazing career as a ceramic and mosaic artist, working well into her 90’s. Her mosaic murals at the Nebraska State Capitol are magnificent. I am inspired by her professionalism, her creativity, her ability to explore new techniques and materials, her dedication to young artists, her versatility, and her perseverance as a woman in a predominantly man’s field.
The Nebraska Arts Council has revised grant programs in response to the changing needs of artists and arts organizations during the current global pandemic. NAC’s new grant programs provide support for virtual programming, individual artists and organizations.