Every year is an opportunity for me to design a new fresh and fun collection.
This year I have combined all my interests: fashion, jewelry and ceramics into AfroBeat.
AfroBeat - Tribal Art in fashion and sculpture.
In 2015, while cleaning out my studio, I happened on a box of small ceramic tribal pieces that were part of a wall totem project from a few years back. That fortuitous find inspired the AfroBeat jewelry which is hand built ceramic, carved, fired, painted, sanded and waxed. All pieces are then assembled using rubber tubing and washers to achieve the tribal look.
The necklaces in turn inspired the AfroBeat one of a kind stabiles (a mobile on a base) with ceramic assemblages suspended on wires and balanced on a ceramic base. In keeping with the tribal theme, the fashion has striking, colorful shapes and marks splashed onto linen tops and jackets.
Included in the 2016 KAA show will be three of my popular fashion collections.
Rock & Roll is a collection of jackets and tops embellished to the max with silver glitzy materials.
Reggae Rags is a hand painted, hand stitched linen collection with cool frayed edges.
Rumba Wraps is a lacy creation of interesting fabrics that can be a scarf or fashionable head wrap.
Growing up in HongKong and forever doodling and sketching, I dreamt of being an artist. That dream was realized when my parents let me study textile design in London during the sixties, just when fashions on the streets were exploding with a wild mixture of Mary Quants mod minis & thigh high boots, Ossie Clarks romantic looks and the zany textile designs & fashions of Zandra Rhodes. I couldn't help but be influenced by those exciting designers.
Ten years later, in 1978, I moved to the States with my husband who had just joined as a drummer for the Ted Nugent band (yes, of the heavy metal band!). During those six years on the road, I was inspired by the new fashion that was becoming more gender fluid. The boys in the band had long flowing hair and wore exotic fashions with bell bottoms and lacy tops.
There was an incredible creative art community in Key West in the eighties and that's where I ended up after a split from my musician husband. Key West's uniqueness stems from being the last island at the end of a 3 hour scenic drive from Key Largo. This tropical island over the years has inspired artists, writers and musicians alike, Jimmy Buffet, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams but my own personal inspiration was an artist by the name of Susy DePoo. Her large studio was filled with all the different kinds of art she created, from beautiful still life paintings of full blown flowers to tile murals and incredible wire sculptures inspired by the rooftops of Russian mosques and horses. When I met Suzy, she was in her sixties and the textile designer for Lily Pullitzer's brightly colored fashions. I remember thinking - I want to grow into old age still doing my art like Suzy and somehow, this has turned out to be my life.
In the nineties, I opened a gallery in Key West which featured my tropical hand-painted tiles and ceramics. Many residences and businesses in Key West have the popular colorful house numbers I am still painting for a gallery in Key West & Sanibel called Island Style.
A move to Asheville 12 years ago with my husband Dennis, inspired my latest passion - fashion as art!
For the last seven years, we have travelled back to Key West in the winter to show my fashion collection to a regular clientele at the Gardens Hotel. I have also participated a couple of years in the KAA Tour.
I look forward to spending this year exploring, creating and adding to my AfroBeat collection.
I relish time alone to sew, embellish, paint, hand stitch and craft my unique creations in a studio overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains in Kenilworth.