Then (above, circa 1975): Wearing a designer creation composed entirely of garbage bags and plastic painter drop cloths (when plugged in, the whole outfit lights up with an array of small white sparkling Christmas tree lights).
I live in Oakland, California, a city that exemplifies the promise inherent in the international urban village of tomorrow. I’ve been creating art ever since I could wield a pair of scissors, cut of a lock of hair, and combine that with a rubber band and a pencil to make an ad hoc paintbrush. I drive around town in a 1978 Chevy Nova covered with thousands of beads, pennies, bits of jewelry, baby doll parts, buttons, cocktail picks, commemorative coins, random memorabilia, and found baubles. I make my own clothes, and some days realize I’ve made everything I have on including my pocketbook (fashioned out a recycled truck tire inner tube) except my underwear. My artwork includes assemblage, textile art, installation/interactive pieces and fashioning things out of unlikely materials. Lately I’ve engaged in creating objects that are fleeting in nature and photographing them. From an old art bio:
Catherine McEver has studied in East Africa, India, and Japan and has traveled extensively throughout Thailand, Sri Lanka, Morocco, the South Pacific, and Greece. This international background has had a significant impact on her art work.
While in Japan, living in the mountains outside of Hiroshima, she studied the Japanese art of found wood and stone work with master craftsman Brother Shimo. In remote corners of the globe she has lived among people from non-industrial cultures who are adapting the cast-offs of a technological society into decorative jewelry and cultural artifacts. At the age of nineteen in East Africa after a car accident on a deserted dirt road outside of the Amboselli game reserve, she had an intriguing encounter with a group of Masai tribesmen who appeared on the horizon and trotted across the plains to cluster around the overturned vehicle.
"The VW bus we were in had flipped three times and was completely totaled," she recounts. "We had to crawl out of the windows. Everyone else was worried about how we were going to get out of there. I was studying the jewelry the Masai men were wearing, particularly the old Kodak film cans they had shoved through pierced loops in their ears and thinking, 'hmmmm. . . .'"
These days McEver spends weekends dumpster-diving in deserted back alleys of industrial districts in Oakland and long afternoons wandering for miles down stretches of railroad tracks scavenging for strangely perfect scraps of rust or interesting, oddly twisted bits of metal. Regular visits to flea markets and salvage yards flush out her working materials.