DeMent - General Artist Statement 2016
-“New into old, old into new, I’m weaving together remnants of the past and present to preserve the rich textures of life for the future.”
For my entire life I have been a working artist, gardener, and beekeeper. I create handmade paper as a means to an end(,Webster's difinition of art making, look it up). Paper art works take the form of: Art lighting, shadow boxes, stationary, books and sculptures, all crafted from sustainably collected plants and recycled fibers.
Each piece is a vignette that holds a visual narrative. Through layers of vintage ephemera, photos and bits of cloth, tales are told. When etched images are included the dialogue begins. Toys, natural and found objects punctuate the story. No material is arbitrary; I am influenced by overlooked materials found in my community, my own back yard. Rusty old tools are mashed together with deconstructed plants; this is where I find humor, combining these unlikely fellows. Often my works invite the viewer to playfully interact with the art work through light and kinetic elements that bring the imagery to life.
Throughout my life I have been not only influenced but supported, on this less traveled path, by a creative extended family that includes: Gardener, architect, seamstress, quilter, potter, writer, and photographer. Although I did study Art History, Psychology and Costume Design, I learned much more on the bus and in the park. Observation, deconstruction, collection and categorization of found materials reveal clues into their histories that lead to reuse.
Over the years my work has been presented at arts festivals and galleries worldwide winning many awards including the Best of Show at the Kentuck Festival in 2009. The unique self-taught processes I use in papermaking have been featured on HGTV’s Crafter Coast to Coast as well as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. My handmade paper art work is collected privately and in museums including the American Museum of Folk Art in New York. I am enthusiastic about sharing my self-taught papermaking and printmaking processes as a Teaching Artist affiliated with arts organizations along the East Coast. I was recognized as Georgia Arts Educator of the Year in 2005 for my efforts as a self-taught artist with learning disabilities. In 2011, I relocated to Pittsburgh PA and have adopted it as my home embracing the climate, architecture and creative community. I currently hold a studio space in a former dance studio in Swissvale, PA. Here I make paper out of invasive species and pull prints on a 100-year-old press.
“Ms DeMent’s papermaking class exposes students to the principals of science and history while actively engaging students in the process and techniques of papermaking. This is what thematic instruction is all about.” -GAEA