Several decades have passed since I first became captivated by the beauty of wood grain. It was after I installed a wood burning stove in my studio that this passion arose. One day as I was feeding the fire, I found a piece of firewood with a striking texture. I left it out of the fire and used it to paint a picture. Another day I happened upon an “obido” from a house that was being demolished and was stirred with inspiration. An “obido” is a type of traditional Japanese wooden sliding door with a distinctive wide plank that is like a belt banding the middle width of the door. I began to use these old wooden doors for my paintings. Recently I have also used “kugurido”. A “kugurido” is a diminutive Japanese wooden door that is so small you must duck your very low in order to pass through. “Kugurido” are set in walls like an ordinary door or made as a small secondary entrance in an existing door. By using old traditional materials such as these in my art, I feel as though I am a spiritual medium who can hear the breath of people who lived over 100 years ago.
When we encounter a new person we say that we have “met” him or her.
The only appropriate word that comes to mind to describe my first encounter with wood grain is also that I “met” it. I think about the skills of Japanese craftsmen and the delicacy, precision, and resourcefulness imbued in their work, and it is out of a desire to let these things from “the good old days” bathe once again in the sunlight that I use them as materials for my art. We today are the fortunate inheritors of many advantageous implements made by those who came before us. Our modern lifestyle is built on and derived from the accomplishments of those people and the useful things they created. By combining my sensitivity with these old handmade items in an artistic collaboration, I want to highlight the beauty and skill of traditional craftsmanship and have it be remembered by the world. Words are often not enough to fully explain one’s inspiration for creating art but if something of the rhyme and reason in my work has become clear to you, I am delighted.