My unexpected journey to art began with ikebana - Japanese flower-arranging. Taught by my special ikebana sensei, Kosho Dixon, I learned about line, balance, color, and texture - about contrast, focus, and harmony. I've now moved from flowers to paper, but the goal for me is the same: to draw the viewer into a quiet space where the imagination can linger.

During a year spent in Japan, I watched paper being made in the snow-covered hills north of Kyoto. Near the Japan Sea, I wandered through Bessho, where the entire village was involved in papermaking. As I watched them work, the fields outside were surrounded by golden rice plants drying in the sun - a color I still try to capture in my work. In each village I could enter centuries-old paper shops and select favorite pieces.

Those papers - along with many memories - now fill both my studio and my artwork. Each collage contrasts the rich colors of newer handmade sheets with translucent pages from old Japanese books. Those delicate pages contain the brushed ink of other eras, along with the folds, dust, and wormholes from their many journeys. The idea of this suggested but unknown history intrigues me.

Papers rich with color and texture now form the basis for my artwork. Mixed in with the paper, you might also find bits of fabric, reeds, antique fans, a Sanskrit palm book, linen thread, or a golden silk cocoon.

Steps along the way.