Monday, May 10, 2010

Carolyn Ryan - Thousand Oaks, California

1. How do you describe yourself? I live a rich interior life, am intense and passionate when triggered by great literature and art, and feel humble and grateful in the company of family and good friends.

2. What is your creative process? I create mock-ups using textiles and sketches to avoid unpleasant surprises in my final piece. I do this whether I am working with textiles, printmaking plates or other art forms. Instructors sometimes ask me to "just go for it" and stop thinking - but if I work too loosely, the outcome isn't quite right, and I have to make serious adjustments.

3. What's your style? I am drawn to the work of the Expressionists [late 1800's] and the French Symbolists. My artwork is usually expressionistic - pictorial, but not literal - seeking emotional impact and open to interpretation.

4. How long have you been a quilt maker/fiber artist? I've hand quilted and made quilts for 40 years, and transitioned to fiber art eight years ago.

5. Do you listen to music when you make art? I love to listen to Oldies to get my heart pumping - I'm filled with joy when I am painting fabric to "Magic Carpet Ride" for example. Jazz also expands my creative mood. But if I am working intently - figuring out perspective, or working on a figure or tricky design, I need all my brain cells in focus on the task - so I prefer silence and solitude.

6. What do you do when you are blocked creatively? My challenge is to pump up my energy for translating my Big Idea into a piece of art. I don't wrestle with hitting a creative vacuum. That's why good rock 'n roll moves me along in the early stages of creating.

7. Do you teach? During my career in publishing I did a lot of teaching, but I haven't taught in the art community.

8. Are there artistic endeavors that you have yet to do? This semester I am enthralled with my printmaking class - it's a great fit for me. The bold designs are challenging to carve and print, and being in a busy print room is similar to working in my studio. Within the next year I want to design and work on a really large wall piece combining textiles and printmaking. I really love the front end of a new direction like this - when chaos needs to be brought under control.

9. How do you balance your family life and art? Now that I'm retired - yahoo!!! This morning I got out of bed and rolled right into my studio to spread some matte medium on fabric I had printed. Then I made coffee, read the paper and called two of my three [adult] kids to check on their plans for the week. A little tidying up, check the fridge to make sure dinner's covered, talk to friends, back in my studio, class in the afternoon, and a long walk with a very supportive husband - Life is Good!!!

10. What is the best part about what you do? Each time I start a new piece, I learn more about myself - weak areas, and strengths. Each time I gather with artist friends to chat and critique, I return home enriched and altered. I wake up eager to touch my textiles, check various blogs, and see what my friends are creating. The pinnacle is when I can say,"It's finished, it's the best I can do, I really like it"!
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