Diane Emerson

Lanesborough, Massachusetts, 1959-Photo by George Emerson

I canít remember a single day without art. At four, I was making little clay sculptures with my mother and drawing pictures of the farm next door. My family and I were living in Lanesborough, Massachusetts while my father was finishing his twenty-year naval career at a nearby reserve post. After spending two wonderful years in the Berkshires, we moved back to our home in Pemberton, New Jersey, for my elementary education. It wasnít until high school that I discovered the pleasure of showing my friends and family how to create their own art. That was when I decided to pursue a career in art educator and an artist. Those years flew by in a wink of an eye and now Iím a full-time artist working with ceramic tile and exploring photography.

Photography has always been a part of my life. Both my father and grandfather were avid amateur photographers. My father documented his shipboard life and ports of call. My grandfather took pictures everywhere he travelled and presented me with my first camera at the age of 14. Many years and cameras later, it was time to join the digital age. Seeing the breathtaking images of some local photographers lead to a camera club membership. The knowledge gleaned from this group has been crucial to the creative and technical development and of my work.

My photography focusses on the tiny details of nature. Most of my work is shot with a 35mm macro on my north facing porch with natural light. The tiny veins of a leaf, the crepe paper texture of a poppy petal and the sculptural details of a pine cone are the elements that inspire me. The still-life is my favorite subject. It allows me to assemble objects, natural and found into a personal arrangement. Each object has a story and a special energy. Photography allows me to illustrate that nature is just as beautiful in its faded glory as it is at its beautiful peak.

The interest in tiles took off when I was transferred to a high school situation where it was required to teach ceramics. I had some experience from college but not enough to do the best job possible, so I took many classes and workshops over the years. Places like Fonthill and the Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, Pennsylvania are dear to my heart and provided my students and myself with a great deal of inspiration.

My handmade tiles reflect the tiny elements found in nature. Fossil-like impressions are created in both my mosaic and floating tile pieces. Cedar sprigs, dried grass plumes, handmade press molds and found objects are used to create patterns and textures. My floating tiles overhang their substrate by about a half inch. The mosaic pieces are usually framed in copper.

That joy of making art experienced as a child is still a part of my life and has a lot to do with why Iím working as an artist today.

Thank you for visiting. If you have any questions about my work please email me at nj10tree@aol.com