Leslie Wardlaw
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Leslie Wardlaw

Artist Statement

By playing with materials, both found and forged, I create miniature, wearable sculptures. Because of the choices I make I experiment with traditional notions of adornment. I enjoy broadening limited definitions of femininity and challenging what is considered valuable, what is considered “pretty.” The act of forging a personal vocabulary of self-expression is often a challenge to cultural expectations. And, of course, this is when it is most meaningful, when it really gets fun.

I am constantly inspired by natural and man-made environments. My design choices often reflect the structures of plants I have encountered, from the sway of sea grasses to the unfurling fronds in the rainforest, to the thorny geometries all around my home in the desert southwest. My designs also reflect my joy in daily life upon discovering the commitment to line and volume and function that might be found in a chair, a typeface, a light fixture, or a building.

Often times, however, the most profound influences on my creativity are less concrete, less intentional. I am moved when I pick up a piece of metal that has experienced the forces of traffic and weather for years, when I am hypnotized by the pattern of water flowing around a rock, and when I hear the sustained, low-lying note of a cello. It is these moments of joy and clarity that slow time, these moments that counter the ever expanding clutter and noise of daily life. It is these moments of clarity, these moments that flow collectively through us all, that I seek to capture in my creations. In these miniature sculptures I hope to offer a chance to find kinship in the powerful act of personal adornment.