1. How do you describe yourself? I usually just call myself an artist. If asked, I will specify “fiber art”, which can then be further explained as “art quilter”.
2. What is your creative process? Although I always have an end product in mind, I rarely plan or draw out the entire piece or agonize over the process. It seems to happen organically as I work. This is the magic of art, for me. It truly seems to come from somewhere outside myself, and that’s the most mysterious part.
3. What's your style? I’ve experimented with lots of styles. I tend to steer away from pictorial, preferring to put my own twist on realism, whether by abstracting shapes or by distorting color and light. Thread painting on a wholecloth quilt base is also very exciting to me, as is creating my own fabrics by dyeing, painting, screen printing, and other surface design techniques. Digital manipulation has become a recent passion. Texture, whether visual or actual, is very important in my work, and I often inject humor or a literary reference, which may sometimes be obvious only to myself.
4. How long have you been a quilt maker/fiber artist? Like many other fiber artists, I started out as a traditional quilter. I think I morphed into a fiber artist fairly quickly, but it’s probably been about 10 years.
5. Do you listen to music when you make art? I did, until I lost the hearing in one ear a couple of years ago. Since then, it tends to irritate me rather than inspire me, so I generally work in silence. I miss working to music, as I used to love classic ‘80’s rock and roll.
6. What do you do when you are blocked creatively? I don’t think I’ve ever been creatively blocked. My main problem always seems to be deciding which project to work on next. Maybe that’s why I often end up literally mixing different media in a single piece … I want to do it all! It may be the reason that I also tend to work in other media besides fiber. Beading, assemblage, doll-making and bookbinding are always there if I feel the urge to break away and do something different.
7. Do you teach? Not formally, although I’ve always thought I’d like to give it a whirl. I love interacting with other artists, and being a “perpetual student” myself, I think it would be fun.
8. Are there artistic endeavors that you have yet to do? I’d like to take some drawing and painting classes, as I’m strictly self-taught in those areas.
9. How do you balance your family life and art? Since I’m a widow, you’d think that this would be easy! But somehow I still struggle to find time for my art. I’m in awe of young mothers, for example, who manage to do both. Since I’ve recently moved and consolidated my studio, I’m hoping to concentrate more on my art now.
10. What is the best part about what you do? This was the hardest question of all to answer! I can’t think of any part that I don’t love. The mental exercise of settling on a theme, researching literary references that I might use as inspiration, learning a new technique and then taking the leap of faith to use it in an actual art quilt, problem solving, the thrill as it all starts to come together … even deciding on a title is fun. I guess I have to say the best part is the exhilaration of creating something that never existed before I thought of it!