For many years I have been deeply influenced by the many animals used in art and architecture around the world. Whether real or mythological, animal forms have been used throughout history across countless cultures. The symbolism of animal forms and the enduring presence of these forms are the inspiration for my present work. I am curious about the human connection to animals, past and present, and the evolution of their appearance and meaning throughout the ages. Zoomorphism; attributing animal characteristics to humans, and anthromorphism; attributing human characteristics to animals, provide fascinating insights into the spirituality and the greatest aspirations of mankind.
During my five years of living, teaching and studying in Italy, I was drawn to the blend of grace and strength that was exhibited in Etruscan helmets and armor. Often, these incredibly beautiful helmets included fanciful yet powerful depictions of animals. This inspired me to create my own series of helmets in terra cotta for the contemporary woman, with various animals worked into the helmets representing characteristics that would be transferred to the wearer. After the helmets, I concentrated on sculptural animal talismans that correspond to our various human needs, desires and personalities.
These talismans lead me to my current series called the “Guardian Series”. These various “guardians” protect, guide, and watch over their owners in various areas of their lives. Each animal acts like a spiritual guide, a reminder of where you need help or guidance. Each animal has its own symbolism and power, and acts as a particular kind of guardian as it stands watch over a room, a home or a person.
Using clay, plaster, metal and mixed media in my work, I try to capture what these animals mean to me and how they make me feel, as well as how they speak to other people.