A couple weeks ago, I was asked to participate in blog hop by Roxane Lessa. Roxane is a tremendously talented art quilter. She also is a creative coach and just recently had an article published in Quilting Arts Magazine (Dec 2014). If you watch Quilting Arts TV, you’ll be hearing more about Roxane. She’s filmed a segment for QA TV that will air this coming spring. You can read more about Roxane on her blog … http://blog.roxanelessa.com/.
Thanks Roxane for inviting me to join you in this blog hop. Now let me answer some questions for you:
Question # 1: What am I working on?
I frequently work on more things than I realistically have time for, especially as I prepare for my 2016 art exhibit at the Moore County Art Council’s Campbell House galleries. I’m trying to stay focused on gradually building my inventory, so that I’m not gobsmacked in 2016.
One of the pieces I have in production I’m nicknaming the “stump” quilt. That’s both a literal and figurative name. I have the concept and the life size pattern prepared, my brain is just a little “stumped” on how to proceed with preparing the background.
Question #2: How does my work differ from others in this genre?
I use a lot of techniques that are very similar to other art quilters. I apply a lot of mixed media elements to my work, paint, thread-painting, applique, quilting. In techniques alone, I wouldn’t consider myself “innovative” or different from other similar artists.
Although my techniques are similar, I think my work is different. My work tends to focus subjects that mean a lot to me, especially nature. I’ve always loved nature and want to capture it in my quilts. Sometimes my work starts with a story, but mostly I want to capture the attention of other nature lovers and tell the story after the work is completed.
I use a lot of photographs for my inspiration, but I don’t want photo-realism. I want my work to be simple in design, but have a lot of detail when you look close. There’s a lot going on in some of my pieces, but its difficult to see that unless you look close.
Questions #3: Why do I create what I do?
I create what I do, because I have to. There is a deep voice inside of me that says I must. I spent many years studying to be a wildlife field biologist and have found myself now using my real-life experiences in my art. I think it all comes full circle. All the little side-trips you take in life bring you back to where you are suppose to be…and they bring you back stronger.
Questions #4: How does my creative process work?
Someone asked me once how I came about creating an art quilt. Did I have an idea first and make the quilt? Or, did I see the quilt first. It seems weird, but for me it all starts with a mental vision of the quilt. I literally see it. Recently, I started sketching out the design when an idea comes to my mind (see the stump photos above). If I don’t sketch it, I sometimes forget about it.
Once I visualize the quilt, the idea incubates for awhile. Sometimes deadlines drive me to move faster, but there always seems to be a period of time that I just let the idea marinate. I could be driving down the road and think…oh yeah, I could have some mushrooms growing on the tree stump or I need a tree line behind the stump. Or I can ask myself questions to consider; what are you going to do with the background? Should the foreground be dirt or grass? What color/type fabric should I use for the stump?
Through these thoughts and questions, I begin defining the details of the vision. Its almost like using the focus option on a camera. I see the quilt, but I need to use focus to see the details. In the end, the quilt is exactly as I envisioned it when I sketched it..only different.
Now that you know a little bit more about me and my process, I want to introduce you to 2 other textile artists who I adore and are dear friends of mine. Each has been influential to me in my journey and have watched me as I developed from a technical editor to a full-time artist.
I met Mary many years ago, when I was still doing web design work and only dabbling in quilting as a hobby. Mary has always encouraged me on my journey and frequently shared her stories about being a traveling quilt teacher. Mary earned her reputation in the quilting world through her fabulous bead work, she definitely is one of the originals when it comes to beading on fabric. Mary has authored many books on the topic. Several years ago Mary moved to western North Carolina, from there her style of work began changing. Her more recent work invokes feelings about the nature that is around her. Its been a pleasure watching her on this journey. Her blog reflects her life in the mountains, her beaded and hand-dyed art work, her love of good food, and occasionally a cheer for her favorite football team.
I met Mark when I was the technical editor for his book “Strip & Knit with Style” by C&T Publishing. At the time he was also working as a fabric designer for Michael Miller Fabrics. He also had designed fabric for Blank Quilting, Hawthorne Threads and others. Originally from NYC, Mark currently lives in Hawaii, where he is known as the Mad Hatter of Maui and creates island-themed apparel. Take a step over to his blog and see the fun things he does. As a foody and fabulous photographer, his blog images are always inspiring.