Friday, May 14, 2010

Jane Davila - Ridgefield, Connecticut

1. How do you describe yourself? An artist, an author, a teacher and a mixer of media. I also see myself as a perpetual student, endlessly curious and anxious to learn more about everything, especially anything to do with art, history and science.

2. What is your creative process? I carry a small Moleskin journal around with me and doodle constantly. I love to play word association games with myself when I'm brainstorming a new series. Often I start with the words in the lyrics of songs or in poems and see where they lead me. When I start a new piece I often begin with a loose small-scale cartoon but often deviate from it as I transition into fabric. I work with mostly commercial fabrics but also include some of my own hand painted and hand printed fabrics. Found objects, especially paper objects very often find their way into my work.

3. What's your style? I see my work mostly as abstracted landscapes with representational subjects, rendered as fabric/paper collage.

4. How long have you been a quilt maker/fiber artist? I started as a printmaker in my late teens back in the early 80s and worked as one for over 10 years before learning to quilt. I mostly made traditional and contemporary quilts at first and began making art quilts in 2002.

5. Do you listen to music when you make art? A really eclectic mix! Huayńo from Peru and Ecuador (traditional Andean flute music), happy 60s pop, reggaetón & salsatón, indie rock from the US and Europe, Latin American pop, alternative country and tejano, and St Louis blues.

6. What do you do when you are blocked creatively? I usually do something completely different, but still creative. I'll take a dance class (usually either tap, modern or jazz), I'll try a new medium (encaustics helped the last time I was stuck), or I'll clean my studio. Somehow having a fresh, clean, organized space helps.

7. Do you teach? I do teach and love it. My favorite parts are gently pushing my students to try something outside of their comfort zones and encouraging them to feel confident in their abilities.

8. Are there artistic endeavors that you have yet to do? I've been intrigued with the idea of working in metal lately. I'm feeling a need to own a soldering iron and wondering how I can combine fiber, paper, found objects and metal together in assemblages.

9. How do you balance your family life and art? It can be tough. When my daughter was little I would work on my art very early in the morning (6-7 AM) and late at night (10-12 PM) each day. On weekends she would often join me in the studio. Now that she's on her own and I'm back to being a full-time self-employed artist I find it harder to schedule regular time in the studio. My husband is also an artist and has his own studio, so we're often each at work in our respective spaces. We try to have a date night once every two weeks and go on art dates at least once a month. Living with another artist means that I don't need to explain that the muse is calling at 2 AM or that I'm in the zone and absolutely have to work through dinner.

10. What is the best part about what you do? Wow, so many things!! Getting to express myself visually as an artist. Experimenting and playing and stretching and pushing myself in my studio. Encouraging and mentoring my students. Meeting fantastic, enthusiastic people all over the world. Sharing what I know through books and magazines. Gaining a sense of community in real life and online with other artists in every medium everywhere.
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