Buddha Smiles(Angkor Wat); 48" x 48"; satin and threads; 2002-2003
Buddha Smiles is one of a series of fabric works that I embroidered while travelling throughout Asia that were inspired by various materials, ideas, and objects encountered. Here I am using the smile of Buddha found on much of the existant statuary at Angkor Wat and throughout Cambodia and northern Thailand. That peaceful beneficent smile is at odds with so much of the political and economic horrors that took place in Cambodia in the last few decades that it became a powerful symbol for me of transcending evil and creating beauty wherever possible. It also represents the people who embraced and welcomed me into their homes and lives.
Thai Shirting(Luang Prabang) 32" x 38"; cotton cloth, golden thread; 2002-2003
I bought this striped cotton fabric in one of Bangkok's ubiquitous made to order clothing stores. I then embroidered images of the tops of temples in golden threads. Somehow this ancient symbolic architectural detail combined with this modern everyday material spoke to me. This piece symbolizes the mix of the old and the new, the modern and the ancient, old culture and iconography blended with modern day materials as the people find alternative ways of living and flourishing.
Jaipur (Cook Islands); 36" x 36"; chiffon, beads, shells, threads; 2003
I found this beautiful iridescent pink/orange material in Jaipur (The Pink City), India and sewed flourishes inspired by the designs of the Taj Mahal, other Moghal buildings, by the miniature tradition that continues in Northern India, and by all of these designs swimming around in my imagination. This was the last country I visited, and also included are shells and beads, which, aside from being formally congruent, are from the legendary Cook Islands, the first country I visited on a yearlong round the world odyssey. So in this piece I come full circle, ending where I began, or beginning where I ended, depending on how you look at it.
New Zealand/Aotearoa; (1 of 3); 32" x 22"; cotton cloth and lampskin; 2003
New Zealand/Aotearoa; (2 of 3); 32" x 36"; cotton cloth and lampskin; 2003
New Zealand/Aotearoa; (3 of 3); 32" x 26"; cotton cloth and lampskin; 2003
This series was also inspired by the mixing of the Maori (Polynesian) and European cultures. Today NZ, or, the Maori name Aotearoa, is an odd mixture of tropical island and bucolic sheep! I collected these materials while in residence in New Zealand and put them together in my studio upon returning.