I was raised in a large family in rural Kentucky. My Appalachian childhood environment was rich with examples of handmade works. My mother and grandmother provided our family with hand constructed garments, quilts, crocheted laces and embroidered linens. There was always work in progress; creativity was an integral part of daily life. This tradition continues in my own adult home.
Process of Development
My creative efforts have taken many forms over the years-quilting, weaving, knitting, crocheting, garment construction, basketry, beadwork and woodturning. From 1976-1994 I marketed hand braided and beaded leather designs at craft shows, regional shops and through a leather store I owned and operated in Berea, KY. After years of experimentation, I’ve become adept at a number of both on and off loom weaving techniques. In 1994 under the guidance of my husband Jack Fifield, an accomplished wood turner, I learned to use a lathe to make hollow form wooden vessels.
A visit to Chicago’s Field Museum in 1974 proved a pivotal point in life. The incredible baskets of Native American weavers left me spellbound. The similarity between finely twined baskets and the texture of beadwork intrigued me. It was this experience that set me on my own creative path.
My love and fascination with nature provides a never-ending source of design ideas.
Materials - Techniques
Turning hollow form vessels using trees from our land begins the process. Working with needle and nylon thread, the vessels are then encased in a network of Czech glass beads. The stitch I employ most is twill weave whose origin can be traced to ancient cultures in the Middle East.
Beaded vessels are my primary artistic focus. These range in size from 2 inches to 2 feet. Classic forms, vivid colors and simple compositions define these vessels. Precision of the intricate beading stitch and elaborate embellishment further distinguish the work. Each vessel is undertaken with the joy of personal challenge. My wish is to create objects of beauty, as I feel harmony is found in beauty and peace within harmony.
Recent collaborations with my husband Jack has resulted in sculptured pieces characterized by Jack’s carving and turning skills. This shared vision further enriches my creative spirit as we carry onward our family’s traditions.