I was born and grew up in Berkeley, California. My childhood and education were permeated with an activist social awareness - from packing up school supplies to send to Guatemala in grade school, to petitioning against nuclear weapons in Junior High, to volunteer tutoring in Oaxaca, Mexico during what would have been my last semester of High School. I felt both motivated and burdened by my concern for humanity.
I left the West Coast for Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania to get a solid liberal arts education. In particular, my studies in history and dance directly informed my developing artwork in terms of content and form. I increasingly contextualized my experiences and observations within larger historical-social-political narratives, and sought a way to express these ideas in sculpture. Modern dance in the form of Contact Improvisation became an important source of information for the physical experience of the body that I wished to address. In my senior year, I attended a lecture by Leslie Feinberg that introduced me to some of the language and theory that described my concerns with gender and identity.
After Swarthmore I took a job working in social services in North Philadelphia, where I interacted primarily with middle- and high-school youth. While I enjoyed my work, I realized that I needed to pursue art full time and began the long process of graduate education. I received my first Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York Academy of Art in Manhattan, which consisted of a rigorous education in the human figure, both from observation and conceptual models. Upon graduating from the Academy, I was awarded a travel fellowship to the U.K. through the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In order to have more concentrated studio time, and to have the opportunity to apply my academic training to my thematic concerns, I pursued a second Masters, in ceramics, at Indiana University, Bloomington, where I received a full fellowship. I developed the unique formal language that expressed my concerns with the body and identity for which my work is recognized. During my time in Bloomington I began to show nationally.
Upon graduating, I recieved the Matsutani Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT, where I was a resident through the fall of 2009. I have received an Emerging Artist Award (2009) as well as an International Residency Award (2010) from the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). In 2010 I moved to Seattle to begin a residency at Pottery Northwest, working on a solo show for the Society for Contemporary Craft (2011).
In 2011 I received a German Chancellor's Fellowship and relocated to Bonn and Berlin, Germany for two years. This experience gave me the chance to learn a third language and spend significant time immersed in a foreign culture. I was challenged to adapt my content to a specific cultural experience which was not my own - that of the former East Germany. Through extensive research into the popular culture, art and literature of the GDR, as well as personal interviews and site visits, I developed a body of work that brought together my personal background with this fraught history in a manner that was both unique and authentic. The resulting multi-room installation, Mythology of a History Lesson, was initially installed at the Brotfabrik Gallery in Berlin. A catalog is available for purchase.
I returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2013 to conclude my residency at Pottery Northwest and continue to explore the mountains and a passion for climbing that I have steadily developed since 2009. A timely grant from 4Culture supported the completion of my most recent major project, Vanitas, which was over 5 years in the making. A free brochure of this project is available courtesy of the 4Culture grant.
Throughout my travels I have frequently taught, both in formal academic contexts and community schools. I have given lectures and workshops in both English and German at a variety of academic institutions internationally. Additionally, in 2013 I began teaching climbing and expedition hiking at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) where I particularly enjoy working with underserved students.
I have been awarded the Visiting Artist Teaching Fellowship at the Alberta College of Art + Design for the 2015-2016 academic year, and will be residing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.