I started printmaking when I was in high school, and it’s remained a part of my process ever since. It’s always been very challenging, but I’ve never limited myself to one technique. I’ve made work by etching, woodblock, lithography and silk-screen. It’s a labour-intensive and technical process, but it’s also collaborative. Early on, I collaborated with my mother, Willi Posey Jones, who was a fashion designer, to create quilts and soft sculptures. In the 1980s, I worked with the master printmaker Bob Blackburn on a series of abstractions, which I made into quilts.
In the 1970s, there was a trend among artists not to sign their work. I think they had a strange idea that because they were so famous and their art was so recognised, they didn’t need to sign it. I knew that would lead to problems: a lot of people’s works were lost. I didn’t embrace that. In fact, I created a piece called “Ego Painting” (1969) where my name was the only design. It was a statement against that movement. I’ve always signed everything I create. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with wanting people to know that I made a piece.
In my earlier days, I’d rise by 6am and be in the studio all day. I’d take a lunch break and then go back to work. My practice involves acknowledging the techniques of artists who came before me and using them in my own work. I look to the past, reflect on it and then make art about it. But I have to be inspired to do my work, and I find inspiration in the present: people, places and what’s going on around me. What was I reflecting on all these years? The world — how it is and how it might be. I’m worried and yet I’m also hopeful because it’s my world, and I want the best for it. Sometimes, I don’t see it happening, but I’m hoping that things will be better.
I’m on sabbatical right now. I have a much more relaxed schedule. My husband passed away in February 2020, and it’s been a time of reflection and listening rather than doing. This has been a very strange time for me because I’m not accustomed to not working. My schedule right now mostly involves looking over what I’ve made. I’ve created a lot of work and am happy that I can now sit back and enjoy the response. When I see my work from all the different series and media assembled together, I feel a great deal of satisfaction that I was able to produce so much and that I had the freedom to find my own voice, against all odds. It’s deeply gratifying — I hope my story can be an inspiration for all artists.