In more than 7,500 miles of backpacking and ultrarunning adventures in the woodlands of my home state and on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Camino de Santiago, Colorado Trail, Arizona Trail, and high peaks of New York and New England, I’ve collected countless photographs, sketches, and stories—artifacts from the backcountry that inform and inspire my art practice. Through fiber art, I recreate, reimagine, and celebrate my experiences so that I may share with others the wild places I love.
My artistic adventures begin where my travels end: back at my family’s farm in rural Kentucky. Each of my felted pieces starts as raw wool, which we carefully hand-shear off our pet sheep. This wool is cleaned, picked, carded, and felted into a durable “canvas” of thick wool fabric. I then turn to the dyed wool that acts as my pigments. As painters mix colors on their palettes, I use combs and a blending board to combine dyed wool of various colors and fiber lengths. Using a specialized, barbed needle and a repetitive poking motion, I needle-felt just a few strands of wool onto the fabric at a time and work in layers to create a finished product that emphasizes both color and texture.
By “painting” with wool—a tactile, natural material—I endeavor to make remembered landscapes tangible in the truest sense of the word. My focus is on large-scale feltings that evoke the grandeur of expansive natural landscapes and allow viewers to imagine themselves in the backcountry. It is my aspiration that my feltings of mountains and trees from the backcountry will encourage in others a connection to the natural world by offering them a glimpse of what it feels like to be in those wild lands, to be merely human in a world that is both ancient and ever-changing.