At first pass, my books appear to be catalogs. Without exception, they present collections of animals (bestiaries) or plants (herbiaries), organized by themes of systems. In each, the creatures share either an ecosystem or a cultural system. Sometimes the books are non-fiction; sometimes they stray into fact-based fabrications.
All of my books emerge from a personal drive towards advocacy for the wild world.
In books where creatures share an ecosystem, I am exploring the health of that ecosystem. I show interdependencies between creatures, illustrating how they rely on each another. I consider the resources they require, and how those creatures cooperate or compete. My goal, ultimately, is to demonstrate that these creatures are part of a system, and that the system depends on all of its parts to work correctly. Subtly, I point a finger at the hubris behind any sort of human claim to know what is best for the wild world. The pointing finger is accusatory when those human claims are disrupting healthy ecosystems.
When my creatures share a cultural system, it’s because I’m interested in looking at how creatures of the wild exist in the minds of humans, and how the human and the wild affect each other. My projects of this type are essentially herbiaries. These books consider folklore that humans have attached to a group of plants—like the traditions that surround the evergreen plants of the winter holidays—and then examine these stories through a modern lens to discover both their truths and their follies. I use the stories of plants to help us learn more about ourselves.
My artist books are limited-edition pop-ups. I make artist books because I like to tell stories; I make pop-ups because I like to work sculpturally within the book format. I love fusing the expressive with the mechanical, and as a result breathe expansive life into dimensional paper forms.
Making beautiful things satisfies me. I enjoy great variety in my life, serving as researcher, writer, illustrator, engineer, papermaker, designer, assembler, and binder.
Putting the joy of making aside, I make pop-up books because they have great potential to grab and hold attention. If I can make something epic fly from the page, the viewer is more likely to continue to engage with the book. It’s possible they might even read it.