Artist Statement – Boats are storied human objects, culturally ubiquitous, recognizable forms rife with association. They are vessels that carry us, and their recognizable form and implied transitional narrative combine in sculptural objects to tell stories that are both individual and highly relatable.

Pairing skin-on-frame boatbuilding—where cloth skins a skeletal armature—with found, historied textiles creates objects representative of human experience: navigating life, skinned in the identities we create for ourselves.

Over time, these skins wear out, are repaired, breach or hold fast: a bridal gown in tatters as a marriage fails, a child’s dress falls loose as innocence is lost, a tablecloth clings tightly to a vessel built on domestic pride.

I am interested in boats as forms symbolic of voyages — ferrying us from one stage of life to the next, stowed with the things we choose to carry with us, or tangled in the things we choose to leave behind. Much of my past work deals with transition, grief, and loss of innocence or childhood, using the objects left behind to create visual narratives relating to life events — death, divorce, and aging.In a broader social context, I am interested in exploring the potential of these forms to relate to current issues around migration, ocean ecology, and gender issues.

Bio -Liz Grotyohann is a nationally recognized graphic designer, craftswoman and fine artist.

Her interest in design lies in designing visual systems that help users navigate complex systems of information — in physical, digital or printed spaces. She applies the same principles to her artwork, and has always been drawn to the creative challenge of found object art —combining multiple objects, each with its own history and associations, to create visual objects with narratives larger than the sum of their individual parts.

Born in New Jersey, and currently residing in Portland, Oregon, Liz received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Her work has been recognized by SEGD, GDUSA, Print Magazine, HOW Magazine, and published in various media outlets, including Design*Sponge, Craft, Sunset and Readymade magazines. Her fine art can be found in private collections throughout the United States.