Water covers more than 70% of the earth’s surface and supports nearly half of the species. Many of the magnificent aquatic creatures it harbors in its oceans provide humans with both sustenance and inspiration. The movie Whale Rider, a New Zealand film based on a Maori legend, highlights the importance of the relationship between our natural environment and our majestic guardian and protector, the whale. This tails series evolved from this fundamental idea, with each piece depicting the swishing, flicking, or standing tail. Then to emphasize the elegant movement of the whale, shimmering and glistening as they propel through the water, each is coated with rhythmic patterns of vibrantly colored or iridized glass. The sculpture is embellished further with an accent of laminated pearl, abalone, or paua shell sourced from New Zealand.
I have a real affinity with water, both its cleansing and revitalizing qualities and its power to transform. Not only is it the vital essence of all life forms but it contains an innate wisdom in its ability to take the path of least resistance. Large bodies of water sustain the lives of many magnificent creatures creating a source of both inspiration and sustenance.
Swirl: The inward curving spirals swirl frothing and merging, suggesting the perpetual motion of water.
Whale Tails: The majestic whale, strong and protective, inspiring a connection with the sea, its creatures.
Hooks: A strong symbol for generating abundance through a bountiful harvest, associated with good luck and safe travels over water.
Connecting with the nurturing energy of the environment has been a vital part of my adjustment process since relocating to Portland Oregon from New Zealand in 2008. Being immersed in a new culture initiated a search for familiar strands connecting my old and new life. Visually this inquiry found expression in the carving of a series of twists and fiddle head ferns.
Twists: The upward reaching Twists reflect the resilience and flexibility of wood in the entwining strands. They symbolize the connections and bonds generated from the forming of friendships and merging of cultures.
Fiddle Head Fern (Koru): The majestic unfurling fern frond represents growth emerging from new beginnings. As it curls outwards with new life it stands strong, proud and at peace.
The infinity sign was introduced in 1655 by John Wallis as a mathematical symbol to represent an indefinable quantity. Having no beginning or end it both fascinates and challenges the imagination to expand beyond definable realities. It alludes to the continual flow of energy experienced by all living things and the state of equilibrium necessary to sustain and nurture this life force. This series of works explores this symbol in various forms from its conventional shape through to manipulations of its contours through stretching and twisting. It takes on many personas, at times playful and energetic, strong and intense, or calm and introspective. The light plays of the multi-faceted surfaces as if energizing the steps and stages of life’s journey leading us along our pathway.
Glass Mosaic Sculptures
Each Glass Mosaic Sculpture is uniquely sculpted using a reductive technique. A light foam base is carved into flowing contours, and is then coated to create an exoskeleton. Each sculpture is encrusted in rhythmic patterns of hand-cut colored glass, mirror or gems that are selected to emphasize the character and form of the underlying structure. The tiles are smoothed and arranged into flowing lines adding vibrancy and intensity to the twists and curves. Collectively they entice the eye as the light shimmers and dances across the multi-faceted surfaces, generating a sense of energy and movement. Suzanne draws her inspiration from the gracious elegance and simplicity of natures’ design, the foaming swirling action of water, the majestic unfurling fern frond, and the upward reaching spirals suggestive of a twisting wooden spire. Some pieces explore symbols such as the infinity sign, where the form is stretched and manipulated to take on many personas.