Thursday, April 28, 2011

Astrid Hilger Bennett - Iowa City, IA

1. What do you call yourself - art wise? I am an artist. I bring the same concerns, perceptions, skills and vision to my art work, whether I am using fiber, or paper, printing or painting, drawing or dyeing. For painting and printing, I prefer fabric to any other surface, including paper. I love the drag of the brush on fabric.
2. How do you jump start your creativity when you are in a slump? Getting started is sometimes the hardest part, but once I’m in my studio, music going, I can find plenty of busy work to do until my need to work takes over. Sometimes I just paint stripes or backing fabrics, using older dyes. My big issue is time.
3. If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your art? I would spend lots more time! I would not keep my part time job as a marketing director. But I’d need to feed the people part of me, too, which paid work is good for.
4. Do you keep a sketchbook, journal, etc.? Yes. I have always wanted to be better at this- it takes being an observer, not so much a participant, to be good at recording one’s days. I recently finished one of the Sketchbook Project moleskine journal books- a good incentive that’s helped a great deal.
5. Where can people see your other work this year?  shows, books, magazines, etc. I have been overly busy with a big Surface Design Association website re-design, my way of giving back to an organization I’ve belonged to since 1977. I am just now arranging shows, etc.
6. Do you teach?  where?  I teach locally and at guilds. I enjoy teaching immensely but am very mindful of using time wisely to be more productive in the studio.
7. Is there a particular artist who had influenced you in your art life? and why?  
German expressionism allowed me to think boldly and was the aesthetic backdrop of my childhood. Abstract expressionism allowed me to think large and with large arm movements. Andy Goldsworthy helped me to connect art and the natural world.
8. Where or what show do you hope your work will be in someday? I have been in some good ones and hope that I can continue to provide exciting work for future venues. I especially enjoyed being chosen for Quilt Nihon in Japan.
9. Describe your studio workspace. My home has always been my studio. My wet area is in the basement. I piece & stitch works on the main level, and at one time, with more family members around, upstairs. I use all my table surfaces. I hang pieces on walls that I pass by regularly. For a mental picture of my current studio and the changes it’s undergone in recent years, read my blog post,
10.  What 3 tools could you not live without? My eyeglasses, my laptop and a pencil!
11.  What drives you to make the work that you do? I love the tactile quality of fabric and use it as an expressive surface for my ideas. The piece in this show, Anticipation, is restrained in image and size when compared with my usual work, mostly due to trying to accommodate a theme.
12.  How do you balance your life? Quiet with Action, listening with expression, living well (exercise, healthy living, biking, yoga), music, gardening, and above all, family and loved ones.
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