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Deborah O’Keeffe

Booth Number: TBD

Mixed Media
Staunton, VA

Artist Statement:
My creation of mandalas, altered books, and other mixed-media
collages grew out of my first profession as a writer, and out of my
practice of mosaic collage which has been evolving for more than two
decades. Practically speaking, materials and my enjoyment of
experimentation inspire me to pursue particular projects. More
profoundly, I am compelled by consistent conflicting energies in my
personality, by my deep respect for the act of creation as a holy
endeavor, and by the feeling of completeness and inner strength that
come to me through the making of art. I am a champion and great
appreciator of the handmade. To personally create a piece that
possesses its own original honesty and beauty takes me beyond the
ephemeral experience of fun (indeed, the work is often tiring and
tedious) to a more durable state of joy.
I work largely with salvaged materials, including old art calendars
and catalogues, used books, music, old stationery, and any other
paper that interests me, finely handcut and applied to substrate such
as wood, stretched canvas, or discarded books. I also incorporate
some new, purchased papers into my work. My primary tools are
scissors, stylus, and reading glasses; occasionally my work calls for
pencil, art pens, ruler, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, and a large
heavy-duty stapler. I use a fair amount of Elmer’s Glue-All
(purchased by the gallon), some PVA, and occasionally craft glue.
When the collage is complete I brush on at least four coats of
polyurethane varnish. This coalesces and deepens the colors and
protects the collage. Sometimes I draw guidelines for a collage, but
often I simply establish a “center” or focal point(s) from which to
work, then following a process of dialogue with the artwork that
allows it to develop organically.