My cell structures drawings began while in residence on Toronto Island.  I had been living in the village Elora where the familiar sight lines included a dense cedar forest along the gorge and seasonal colour gradations of greens, corn stalks and white washed, snow covered fields.

On the island, I was struck by the great expanse of the lake and the patterns in the sand.

 

My art practice drew directly from these elements and I adapted the traditional Japanese “suminagashi” technique where a drawing is created by working with sumi ink floating on water.

Sumi ink is made of wood ash and soot mixed with a vegetable binder. I liked the idea of working with the combined elements of water and fire, through its ash residue.

The process, while simple, is delicate and extremely sensitive to the conditions, temperature, state of mind and hand of the maker.   I begin with a a shallow vessel filled with clean, room temperature water, add a dab of ink which floats on the surface and repeatedly part the ink circle with a twig or the back of a brush carrying the residue of oil from the skin.

I feel myself grow quiet with each subtle gesture.  I see cell structures growing before me. They remind me of repeated patterns seen in life, from water bubbles to salt stains on the pavement to microscopic images of body tissue.  I am reminded that water is a connective and fundamental source in all of life.

Once the floating drawing is complete, I lay a sheet of kozo paper on top to soak up the ink patterns, then let the paper dry.  I then cut selective holes with an exacto blade to create a play of shadow and light, volume and transparency.