Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Artist Profile: Larkin Jean Van Horn

Larkin Jean Van Horn
Whidbey Island, Washington

1. Did the change in dimensions present any specific challenges for you?   I like both the long and skinny format and the square format, but find the narrower format easier on my shoulders when machine quilting.

2. Describe your design area, specifically your work table:  what is the best thing about it? I work in what would, in a normal abode, be the formal sunken living room. I have a cutting table and ironing table, both with storage underneath, and two tables that hold my sewing machines and serger.  Depending on what part of the project I am working on, I can do layout on either of the big tables.  I also have two huge sheets of foamcore to use as design walls that I can move around the studio as needed.

3. What set this quilt apart from other recent projects you have been working on?  Primarily the size.  I come out of a garment and embroidery background, and working small seems to suit my desire for a lot of detail in the work. This piece includes some handwork, but in contrast to my usual practice, it is not beadwork but hand couched yarns, which I found very satisfying.

4. When you get “stuck” how do you deal with a “design block”?  How do you overcome it? Generally, getting stuck just means that the idea needs more percolating time.  So I move on to something else that I don't have to think too much about.  For instance, much of my current work has a random fused collage as the base.  Many of them are monochromatic, and can be laid out and fused without overthinking it.  Meanwhile, I can let my subconscious mull over whatever the design problem might be.

5. Do you work on single or multiple projects at the same time? I generally start several pieces at once.  I recently had the use of a large studio away from home, and managed to lay out and fuse about 20 collage backgrounds during my days there.  Several of them are almost as large as the piece for this exhibit.  Whichever grabs my attention next will be what I work on.  Eventually they will all get finished, but I am in no rush.

6. What do you hope people take away from your work? Each piece is different, and will convey its own message.  I hope to convey something of the beauty of nature, and a sense of calm.  The world has its own problems, and I see no reason to contribute to them by jangling the nerves of the viewers.

7. What are the best parts of working on an art quilt:  What are your least favorite parts? I love working with color to convey my thoughts, and have done extensive research into the symbolism of color.  I try to be thoughtful in my color choices, but sometimes it's just a joy to move the fabrics around until they start to sing. Least favorite things would be the uninteresting stuff like adding labels, hanging sleeves, binding, etc., and I tend to pile quilts up until I have several that need all the final touches and then spend a day or two just doing the boring bits.

8. What art/quilt-related organizations do you belong to? Studio Art Quilt Associates, Whidbey Island Surface Design, Northwest Designer Craftsmen.

9. Do you have a preferred color palette?  Why? I admit to being pulled to the cool side of the color wheel, but I have never met a color I couldn't use for one thing or another.  I find I am more interested in deep, rich, fully saturated colors than in pastels.

10. What do you regard as your most interesting milestones along your art journey? Being invited to create six ensembles for the Fairfield/Bernina Fashion Shows, and getting confirmation for my belief that quilts don't have to be bed sized. (Thank You, Karey Bresenhan, for the Journal Quilt Project!)
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