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I am Ellen Crocker,

an artist who works on paper, textiles and wood. I live on the island of Hawai`i on the slope of Mauna Loa, an active volcano.

I learned about sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) when I was eight years old. It is used in my brush strokes, stitches, and carved marks on paper, textiles, and wood.

My first job... at the University of Alabama Medical Center doing pen-and-ink illustrations for a neuroanatomy textbook led me to my affinity with circles. Circles are repeatedly used in my work, and express my beliefs about the connections we share with others and our planet.

Moving to Hawai`i at age 21 I met my sumi-e mentor Sensei Koh Itoh of Kanazawa, Japan. He was a great influence in my life.

Studying in Japan twice developed my skills in sumi-e and roketsu-zome (Japanese wax resist). It was wonderful to learn more about these fine arts in classes, museums, and visits to artist studios.

If you find yourself wanting to use my artwork, ask me if you can and if you can't, please give me credit with a link to my website.

Textiles

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama where my grandmother, Honey would let us roll down a grassy hill with us wrapped in quilts. It was wonderful. I know I inherited the love of textiles from the women in my family.

The skill of hand stitching has been with me since I was six years old when Honey taught me to embroider. I had my first sewing machine when I was ten years old.

I print, paint, hand-dye and work in wax resist using roketsu-zome, a Japanese technique to bring my fabrics to life.

I always seem to have something to stitch on close by.

Wood

I took a class in reduction printing class and realized that I did not enjoy the printing but did enjoy the carving. This revelation carried me to a medium of painting and carving on wooden panels.

Participating in the Hawaii Art Collaboration I was introduced to new aspects of working with wood and milk paint.

I took a class, with Michael Cullen making bandsaw boxes. Moving into the 3-D world via wood was genuinely exciting. I could build a shape, carve it, paint it and it was usable.

So, I sold my serger (sewing machine) and bought a bandsaw and the rest is history.

The Red Dot

Paper

I prefer to work on smooth papers. I paint with watercolors, sumi, and acrylics on paper - sometimes stitching on paper.

Sumi-e allows me the freedom of simplistic expression which inspires me. It appears simple, yet the art form is not necessarily simple. it requires drawing skills that capture the likeness and the mana (spirit) of the subject.

The lovely brushstrokes of sumi-e are my mode of painting no matter what medium I am working in.

Teaching Artist

I work as a Professional Teaching Artist for the State of Hawai'i. I began my career by going into the schools with SKEA as my sponsor after seeing that my own children did not have much art in their schools.

The Red Dot
Website Design by Skyler Kline

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