Prior to arriving at Carleton in 1984, almost all of my prints had been produced in intaglio, a process whereby a design is engraved into a material and incised lines hold the ink. Attempting to do something else, I started working in large-scale woodcut relief, a process which is the opposite of intaglio, where the parts of the matrix that make the image stand above the main surface. Without realizing it at the time, I became part of a group that had reconsidered woodcut (one of the oldest forms of printmaking) and made it more popular. In recent work, I have tried to go back to the medium I love most, intaglio, but incorporate the directness that I enjoy in my relief works.
Looking back, it is hard for me to say if I have been consistent, or else quite scattered in my approach to making artwork. I have always been more informed about historical art than contemporary work, although I feel it is also important to address contemporary concerns. You could say that some of my print work is quite conservative, but I have always valued the history of printmaking in the way that it has been, and continues to be, a leading medium in issues of social justice. I was less able to explore those issues in single prints, but I have attempted to do so more through the longer-form format of my book works.
As an educator, I joined early on with colleagues who taught in graduate programs nationally and internationally to try to change some of the existing dialogue of printmaking, focusing more on questions of ‘why’ and less on ‘how’ through our teaching. Being a part of a wider exchange in the printmaking community has always been important to me, and I hope the effects of this exchange helped some of my Carleton students through my years of teaching. For the benefit of our students, I have worked to make the printmaking program at Carleton College one that is recognized across the country and, to some extent, internationally.
My own education was in a liberal arts environment, and my greatest wish as a teacher was to remain a part of that kind of cross-disciplinary institution. My teaching focus has been in drawing, printmaking, and book arts. I have taken great joy in developing an Off Campus Studies studio program in the South Pacific and the ability to provide valuable new experiences for many students through that program. Additionally, I was the first yoga teacher at Carleton, and taught that class for fifteen years. In my time here, I have also been active in governance matters, serving on the Education Curriculum Committee, Faculty Affairs Committee, and directing the Learning and Teaching Center.
Perhaps my work is a bit inconsistent because I have encountered so many new people, places and ideas during my time at Carleton College: the many visitors we have had; my off-campus experiences; travel to visit art collections; students who have made me think; colleagues who have both supported and pushed me. I have been very fortunate, and am deeply appreciative.