Hand-painted silk organza and dupioni, metal-infused silk, wool, cheesecloth, gauze, seed beads 12" x 24"
This piece speaks of my desire to push through my fears to reveal myself more authentically to the world, and show the depths (colors!) of what lies beneath the mask I wear.
15 Days of Isolation #1, 2020
Screen printed and painted cotton silk, beading, Tyvek button, thread painting 9 1/2" x 8 1/2"
I created this unruly little piece during the first days of the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020. It represents the raw, disordered thinking and intense anxiety I was experiencing at the time (along with everyone else in the world), and the hope for light at the end of the shutdown.
The Tower, 2013
Canvas, silk, Angelina fiber, painted Tyvek paper, beads, acrylic paint 15” x 6” x 6”
The Tower is the first 3-D fiber work that I ever made. I wanted to move beyond a traditional flat quilted aesthetic to a more dimensional piece, as well as experiment with dissolvable stabilizer and layered and stitched silk and painted canvas.
Angelina Fiber Sculpture, 2014
Angelina fiber, silk, cheesecloth, seed beads, thread, yarn 11" x 7" x 6" deep
This sculpture (within a sculpture) was one of my first forays into 3-D fiber art.
Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder, 2018
Cotton, paper 13” x 13” framed (7 x 7 without frame)
This collage is a surrealistic meditation on beauty in today’s world. Women are encouraged to be equal to men and more than just a pretty face, and yet we are bombarded everyday with messages—hello Kardashians!—that being beautiful is the only route to success and happiness. The Korean-style facial treatment mask in this piece was created out of hand-dyed paper, with mismatched facial features placed in the eyes and mouth openings.
Shadows and Silence, 2016
Wet-felted merino wool, hemp thread, yarn 50" X 90"
Throughout time, women have been told to stay in their place and follow a certain path. Muffle their opinions, stifle their thoughts. In many instances, I have sought to conform in this way, having experienced misogynism both personally and professionally. Sometimes I have stifled myself in order to move ahead and be taken seriously. There is still a double standard: Women who are perceived in the business world as aggressive—when they’re really just being assertive—are often perceived as bitches. In order not to be attacked, by men and women alike, I have often silenced myself. This installation of felted wool is a contemplation of being silenced and standing in the shadows. The textures of the wool, the lines running side to side and up and down, the irregular connections, represent the experiences of my life as a woman. The holes show how I, like women in society, have made some advances forward, and the patching shows how I and they have been pushed back. The subtle blues behind some wool shapes represent my real personality behind the cloak I have worn to succeed.
Celestial Flower, Celestial Flower, 2015, Nancy Monson
Acid-dyed wool, silk cocoons and dupioni, acrylic paint, wire 8 1/2” with a 17” tail
“Celestial Flower” began as wool roving and bits of silk dupioni that I sandwiched between dissolvable vessel. The pistils of the flower are composed of dyed and painted silk cocoons and felt. The stem is made of wire coated with layers of felted merino wool and was attached via needle-felting. The piece speaks of the connection between the heavens and the earth, merging a fertile, earth-bound flower with the surreal shading and colors of the celestial sky. “Celestial Flower” is an homage to my late mother, Barbara, who loved dramatic, bold colors and flowers.
The Tribe, 2016
Cotton, silk, felted mulberry paper (Joomchi), silk yarn, seed beads, metal, dissolvable stabilizer 15” x 10” x 5”
I created this series of three fiber vessels to represent myself and two other fiber artists who together formed “The Tribe.” I tried to capture the essence of each of the three of us in the vessels—Suzi, an earthy weaver without pretense (the green, raw-edged vessel), Kat, a young woman who loves to knit (the fuzzy vessel to the left), and myself, the whimsical colorist (the middle Joomchi-ed vessel). This small tribe has offered me great support and inspiration, and I wanted to honor the role of the group in my creative life.
The Future Is Lavender, 2021
Collage, dyeing, embroidery, photo manipulation and transfer onto silk organza, Joomchi (paper felting), mounted on painted canvas 30" x 15"
As a privileged white woman, I have come to understand how I have been socialized in a racist culture and how I am unintentionally invested in this system because it works for me. I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color in America, but I want to contribute to changing our culture to be more inclusive. I want people of color to have the same opportunities that I have. And I want to be an ally without overstepping my bounds. I began this textile collage by using black Rit dye on many different types of materials—silk, wool, dryer sheets, cotton gauze, burlap, paper, paper towels—and found, as expected, vast variations in the way the dye was taken up by the materials. In some cases, purple emerged, which in the current political environment got me thinking about how polarized we are into blue and red states, and how we desperately need to merge into a unified purple country based on acceptance and understanding. This concept of a gentler country dovetailed nicely with the concept of the browning of America…and thus “The Future Is Lavender” was born.
Photo manipulation and transfer onto silk, embroidery Diptych, each 10" x 10" framed
I wanted to explore the idea of “White Fragility” in this diptych—sections of a transfer onto silk of a photo I took of different materials, some of which I dyed with black Rit dye. I was attempting to show how our white culture is becoming multiracial, and how white people must surrender the fear of no longer being the dominant race in America. I have been profoundly impacted by the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, a white female diversity trainer who says that we have all been socialized into an invasive, multileveled system of racism in America, which can’t be avoided. As a privileged, middle-class, white person, I agree with DiAngelo that we are unconsciously invested in racism, and we need to face that America is changing. We have to be open to the idea that we may be acting in ways that are racially intolerant and not get defensive, offensive, and mad when we are called out for non-intentional racist actions or words, but try to understand and change our behavior and our culture. White comfort maintains the status quo, so discomfort is necessary and important for growth. Credit to Glennon Doyle for the idea of “unbecoming.”