My love for working with dioramas and making assemblages stems back to my childhood. I spent much of my time as a child playing with dolls, designing and sewing their clothes, and creating homes for them by making furniture out of boxes, fabric scraps, and household items.
Each piece I make starts with some found object that speaks to me and then I find one more piece and they begin to talk. A story unfolds as each additional piece is added to complete the work.
I also had the great fortune of teaching art to children in the schools and in summer art camps. My students were wonderful teachers, as were the many talented student teachers who worked under my supervision from Texas State University. This gave me the opportunity to be creative at work and to continue to “play” with ideas, materials, and different mediums.
My husband, Tracy Weinberg, continues to play an important role in my art making as he builds the boxes, lends his technical assistance and invaluable feedback.
When writing a biographical statement, I initially think about my experience as a performing musician and songwriter. Digging a bit deeper, it’s clear I have a long appreciation for visual art; having grown up in the Chicago area, I made many visits to the Art Institute, with my mother who was quite creative in her own way, and grandmother, who painted.
I realize that I have become a hyphenate, an artist-musician. It began innocently enough, as I assisted my talented wife, Joan Nagel, with her assemblages and collages. I found that I enjoyed using basic carpentry skills to join and fasten things together for her, then graduated to building boxes. As an educator who taught many disciplines, the thematic focus of shows at the Walkers’ Gallery and Price Center piqued my interest and I soon discovered I had the desire to create my own works of art.
Creating assemblages and collages appeals to my ability to think creatively and solve problems, if not elegantly, then functionally. Doing so has given me ample opportunity to learn, grow, and improve my skills as an artist, carpenter, a thinker, and a creator.