By Tim Buckley

Zen Parry juxtaposes oddly paired materials as visual enticement and as metaphor. Reflecting a personal life filled with cultural texture and spiritual pilgrimage, Parry integrates crocheted plastic film, glass figurines, religious iconography, fired-clay, fiber optics, human hair and other craft elements into her works. The mix can be unsettling, stimulating or both.
Her project, Engagement-White Light, is an example. Scheduled at the Contemporary Crafts Museum and Gallery in Portland, Ore. beginning in January 2007, the installation urges us to reconcile with death rather than denying its inevitability. Doing so, she says, can be liberating, allowing us to live more fully in the present.

Australian-born Parry took the name Zen to remind her of the Buddhist priesthood to which she has aspired the last two decades. Her spiritual pilgrimages also serve as a means to acquire craft skills. “My pilgrimages and sculpture are absolutely entwined,” she says.

The full text of this article is available in the Fall issue of Artisan Northwest.

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