Earth Matters

A large part of Judy’s work consists of primitive figures made of sticks and stones. She does collage, works in clay, repurposes textiles, adds odds and ends to everything and lets her mind wander rather vigorously. Her works have an anthropomorphic quality and an asymmetry which is pleasing. The figures suggest a resurrection of the self. They invoke a wide range of feelings. For me the creation of these figures gives me a sense of celebration of that which was almost lost and may now be found again. They also invoke a sense of the fragility of the earth. They both represent ancient ancestors…and reference self today.

Some of her works are made entirely of stones. I love stones of all kinds. It is hard to judge a stone….I like that about stones….they are intact, fine just as they are…they have stories, histories. Plus I am fascinated that stones can transform themselves over time…from stresses, fractures in the earth…they can change color, size,shape, porousness, texture and weight. They can glisten or be dull. They can be scruffy or silky smooth.

I have been inspired by textiles and use them to give a global feel to my work. I have taken a number of my paintings and had them executed in weavings using karakul, the wool of Kalahari sheep and angora from Lesotho goats.

Sticks are something I truly love…they are something else again. Everywhere in the world, under our feet, no matter where we walk, there are sticks. Some speak to me…they have an elegance, a flair, a flaw that makes them interesting…maybe I can give them another life. I knit them dresses, wrap them in sheer this and that…blow a little magic into them and let them have another life.

Bark is in a category I would call the sacred…A sacred skin to help the trees breathe….to assist in photosynthesis. This wrapping around trees, is more varied, in more colors than one can describe. If I find a good sized piece of bark, I set it in my kitchen and get to know it over time. Slowly it talks to me and how to give it a new life seeps into my bones.

My range of materials keeps expanding. I woke up one day and wanted to press my hands into clay. I use clay largely following my own instincts. I let my fingers, and palms lead. I intentionally quiet my mind and give up knowing where it is the clay will take me. It’s a wonderful way to soothe the soul. When I use clay I remember the potters I walked with as they collected this and that kind of dirt to make their pots.