Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Artist Profile: Frances Holliday Alford

Frances Holliday Alford
Grafton, Vermont 05146

1. Did the change in dimensions present any specific challenges for you?  The change in size was welcomed by me.  I found the larger square format easier to work to make a design.  I like the auspiciousness of the larger size and the applications for use after it is produced.  

2. Describe your design area, specifically your work table:  what is the best thing about it?  I have a new studio on the entire third floor of my house, which has been newly rebuilt.  There is ample space for storage and design.  When Kathy Metallica Cray left Grafton last fall, I bought her beautiful design table which had been designed and built here in Grafton by one of our local craftsmen.  It is a nice ample size, is on wheels and has a lower shelf for storage.  I used it to rotary cut the edges and also sat at the table for the detail work on the cat and for the beading.  The best thing about my table is that it is designed to be a perfect height for sitting or standing when I work.

3. What set this quilt apart from other recent projects you have been working on?  I felt a little more pressure in making this quilt.  I had waited too long, so the deadline was looming.  I had a hard time thinking of images that would fit the Affinity theme.  I wanted my front image, the cat, to be very graphic.  I had to think about the design issues and realize I had to keep moving.

4. When you get “stuck” how do you deal with a “design block”?  How do you overcome it?  It is easy to get "stuck" and I have a few ways to deal with it.  If there is no rush, I sometimes put things away for awhile to allow ideas to circulate in my mind.  I sometimes hang the piece upside down to see if there is something I am missing, or of course, stand far away and try to get a different view.  In this case, I was stuck on the position of the cat and I asked my sister, Lily Holliday, to take a look at it.  The next morning, she had a great insight.  I originally had the cat sitting on a mat and she suggested removing the mat and emphasize the idea that the cat was sitting right down in the flowers.

5. Do you work on single or multiple projects at the same time?  I do it both ways.  If I have a set deadline, I usually focus my entire energy on one project.  There are usually projects in the wings in differing states of completion.  I also have an ongoing habit of making small components downstairs when watching TV or at other times that I am sitting.  These components become quilts when enough parts are constructed.  Some projects need time to "marinate."

6. What do you hope people take away from your work?  My greatest hope is that people take joy or reflection from my work.  I like to use strong invigorating colors and images that have something to say.  

7. What are the best parts of working on an art quilt:  What are your least favorite parts?  The best part of working on an art quilt is the release of creativity and the unlimited options that are presented.  Because the materials, the subject, or the textures may be cumbersome, there are often construction issues that would not be present in other quilting genres.  

8. What art/quilt-related organizations do you belong to?  Quilt Alliance ( former Board Member), IQA, Austin Area Art Quilters, Dinner at Eight, Gomez Sisters

9. Do you have a preferred color palette?  Why?  I have an affinity for color and feel all colors have their purpose.  I prefer bright vibrant colors, especially in the red, magenta, blue ranges.  I like brighter colors for the same reason I tend to wear them.  I feel more vibrant using or wearing them.  In designing a quilt, I often rely on the complimentary colors as a solution for design issues.  ( Complimentary=Opposite colors on color wheel such as red+green, blue+orange or yellow+purple.)
10. What do you regard as your most interesting milestones along your art journey?  I am one of the tribe who liked to sew and also liked to make art but never realized this was a magic combination.  Once I had that understanding, the sky was the limit for me.  I have tried many other art forms but have found that fiber arts are very versatile and can even be portable.  Ceramics or Oil Painting are cumbersome for travel, but a small project with needle and thread can be done anywhere.  Understanding this was a great milestone for me. 
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