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Wolf. Sheep. Dog. Shepherd: characters of the pastoral landscape: predators, livestock, wildlife, farmers and the dogs without whom-- one could argue-- we would have never built civilization. They helped us gather and move herds, hunt for food; keep the wolf at bay, the badger from taking over the hedgerow and the rats from the granary.
In my life, time spent on my grandparents’ farm in Becket, Massachusetts, fostered a love of open fields, paths that led through the woods where I could imagine the beloved collies who were the my imaginary friends and guardians. With collies come sheep, and with sheep come wolves.... and from wolves comes collie. This was my world. It still is.
Every week or so I drive up into the mountains of Yamhill with my dogs and we learn how to handle sheep. These are the most challenging and magical hours; there are mornings when the weather rolls right into us and we are literally moving sheep around inside a cloud. I am where I imagined myself to be since I was a child in the Berkshires. When we get it right, I am joyful.
Getting it right is complicated. I think about it a lot. I think about the ancient rituals we are engaged in and I am moved to create these pieces as a way of thinking, remembering, charting my own place in the landscape.
I can make a wolf out of wool. I can make a sheep out of silk on wool. The issues of time spent molding and stitching (very slow processes indeed) disappear into the formation of the figure; these figures that emerge are both familiar and surprising. It is as if they were born of nature -- as she stitched them into my imagination —each one according to the materials that form them.