Vessels, Vestals & Etudes

Vessel Grouping in my Somerville, Massachusetts studio.
2022 🔴 = SOLD
each Vessel is approximately 52 x 13 x 10 inches

Welcome! If you did not get to the gallery to see the Vessels, I am glad you arrived here on my webpage. I am so happy to share the images and story with you.

Vessel Grouping of 5
2022 🔴

The beautiful curves and sensuality of this work awed me from the moment I glided my palm over the surface of the first forms. Grouping them shows off the natural color of the paper and echoes the shapes.

Vessel Grouping of 4 in my studio
2022 🔴

Any sculptural grouping begs the groupthink question: Are they all thinking the same thing? Are they grouped for strength and survival? That question pushed me to create from a very curious spot in my artistic practice.

Vessel Grouping of 4
each vessel is approximately 52 x 13 x 10 inches

What the group might be thinking was an ensuing consideration. However, my original intention was to express alignment.

Alignment can be both functional and aesthetic. Mainly it’s about creating straight lines and stacking bones to increase the flow of energy in the body.

Footed Vessel (center) studio shot

My use of materials continues to be straightforward and honest. In this close-up you can see how I use strips of paper soaked in hardening agents to create cultural patterns: most notably Egyptian mummy wrappings, as well as breast binding, the draped clothing of Greek goddesses, HIndu sari, and the slim form of Hervé Léger’s high-fashion bandage dresses.

Vessel Grouping #5 and Footed Vessel #1
2022 🔴
alcove view

The paper I use is a particular glueless paper, which in some circles is known as ‘Lecce paper.' The technique is called cartapesta, the high art of paper mache. It has been used to create arte sacre for centuries. I have been fortunate to have studied with cartapesta artisans in Lecce, Italy.

Vessel Grouping #5 and Footed Vessel #1
2022 🔴
each Vessel is approximately 52 x 13 x 10 inches

The Vessels are light and empty. I would like viewers to look inside them and share the sensation of alignment and see where a body's energy presses against the interior layer of skin.

Infinite Yearning Inside Finite Body
flattened paper with ink, threads, crystals and paint
15 x 19 x 25

For the exhibition, in addition to Vessel sculptures I created Vestal plates. The plates explore the fragmentation of the female form and encounters with chance.

Patterns on this particular green Vestal plate, "Infinite Yearning Inside Finite Body," were inspired by pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope.

Installation shot Galatea Fine Art, Boston Massachusetts
The Wedding Veil
Paper, fabric, pearl beads, lace, silver paint

Wherever we are in the world to celebrate a wedding, we admire and wonder about the bride. I painted her silver because when she opens her veil she looks for reflection; for a soul that will complement her life’s journey.

"The Wedding Veil" and Vessel Grouping #2
Mother 47x14x13; Child 46x15x9
Bridal Chamber
paint, beads, sequins, nets, chains, thread

The beautiful “Bridal Chamber” Vestal plate is white, beaded, flirty, enticing, and not at all passive.

Bejeweling the Bride
flattened paper sculpture, paint, linen thread, beads, sequins, crystals, copper leaf,

Something incredible about being a bride is communicated by layering: a layering of ancestors' charms, mother’s beads, veils, celebration and ritual.

Gallery view of Vestal plates
2022 Galatea Fine Art, Boston, MA

Each Vestal plate is a sculpture formed over the body of a woman. The cartapesta sculpture is then flattened under the wheel of a printing press. I do not know how the sculpture will fold or if it will tear. Where will it crumble? Where will it resist?

The Leap from ‘Mi’ to”Fa’
paint, threads, crystals, chain, gold & copper leaf

If you sing the scale right now, I believe you will feel the the vibrational lift that occurs when the notes shift from ‘Mi’ (below the diaphragm) to ‘Fa’ (near your heart). This plate divides the skip in sound with a horizontal line. 

The MI (lower) universe holds a swirl of folds that emphasizes the soft vulnerable belly; two white triangles painted in the center of the swirl take the viewer’s attention to the omphale. Outside the soft belly are more stable elements of the physical body, such as ribs, which are stitched onto the plate. 

In the ‘Fa” (upper) universe is the gold and copper sun of our heart. Outside the circles of heart energy are shooting stars and the spits of fire and life that connect us to each other.

Become Responsible for Everything You Have Tamed
paint, lace, threads & strings, gold leaf

"Become Responsible for Everything You Have Tamed" cites the discussion about the ties of friendship between the prince and shy fox in the French novella, The Little Prince. Their talk about the tenuousness that makes connection between people precious and enduring has always been meaningful to me.

The Impressure of Nothingness into Something
paint, threads, beads, copper leaf

The breasts of this Vestal plate are positioned like eyes. A central line is stitched down the middle brings emphasis to alignment. The sacred bowl reference at the bottom of the torso runs hip-to-hip, marked by a string of beads.

Under the Conditions of Constriction and Convergence (aka Knots: When 2D Becomes 3D)
string, inks

This is the only Vestal plate created from a male torso. It asks the question: “When does a 2D line becomes 3D?” 

The answer arrives: “When a line is knotted it leaves the dimension of length x width and becomes length x width x depth. 

The Lion Devours the Man
Metallic paints, threads and inks, moon phase collage cuts

In imagining this Vestal plate, I pushed the camel through the eye of a needle so that it could join with a menagerie of other animals. (See the camel on the lower left corner.) Other creature drawings on the plate include an elephant, lion, frog, bee, butterfly, bear.

Gallery display of Etudes, each on small shelf
cartapesta, gouache and mixed mediums
each approximately 9 inches in height

The life-size Vessel sculptures require a huge chunk of time to make. Consequently, I choose to paint a small series of 'studies' as experiments prior to painting a large sculpture.

Three Etudes
gouache on cartapesta
each approximately 9 inches in height

Bookends of joy: The "Owl" etude SOLD on opening night. The "Fish Goddess" SOLD the last week of the exhibit. The "Minoan Snake Goddess," in the middle, ended up being a painting pattern for a large sculpture.

Etude #12: "Diamonds on Top of My Thighs"
2022 🔴
painted cartapesta with silk fringe, lace collar, hidden rhinestones and riveted leather velt
9 x 2x1.5

A salute to Maya Angelou and her fantastic poem Still I Rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Always Lose Just a Little Bit When You Make a Deal.
paint, inks,net,sequins, threads, gold &copper leafs

The stitching on the Vestal plates is an artistic healing act to counter the fragmentations made by flattening the sculptures and the general fragmentation in our lives, families, relationships and culture.

The Highest Possible Outcome
silk and linent hread, crystals, sequins, net, gold and copper lea

The back-and-forth movement of the threaded needle-- from the front to the back of the Vestal plate, and from the back to the front again--- weaves together elements of present and past, contemporary and ancient. The stitching perspective is particularly relevant to the materiality of my work and my appreciation of the artistic traditions that preceded and influenced my work.

Etude #3 "Syrian Beauty"
cartapesta, paint, inks

Etude #3 is easiest to explains as a fragrance. Pre-pandemic we hosted two amazing Syrian-Saudi women in our Cambridge house.After they returned to Riyadh, I still enjoyed their beauty, which most often appeared to me as a perfume memory when I walked into a room.

Polishing the Mirror
silk and linen thread, crystals, sequins. gold and copper leaf

My Vessel sculptures and Vestal plates look at the beauty and mystery of the female figure and her mythic journey through time. I love the energy, the lines, stories, and surprise that developed in this body of work.

Painted Vessel #8 (on rotating base)
paper, hardening agents, shellac, metallic paint

For the exhibition, I painted only one life-sized Vessel sculpture. She is gorgeously shellacked. Her pubic triangle, belly button and breasts are enriched with gold. On her back, a line of dots runs from her neck to her ankles.

Artist having fun with her Vessel sculptures