Creating 3D sculptural forms and textile “paintings” using new and re-purposed materials is a passion. I see things and am compelled to create with them. I also love to encourage viewers to interact with my art and put their imprint on the work or encourage them to make their own. Too often we become spectators of living instead of creating life. Art, for me, is the act of expressing ideas regardless of the medium and sharing them with others.
Passports and journals record where one has gone, where one wants to go and what is happening of note in one’s life. These happenings can be simple or complex. Expressing what we want to have happen or what has happened on a daily basis can give time for reflection, evaluation or inspire new hopes and dreams. Most journals are on paper. Fiber is another option. People wear fabric daily as clothing and use it as a form of personal expression. My affinity lies with fabric so I challenged myself by keeping a “fabric” journal. Daily I composed my thoughts and put them into fabric collages which became the Color Series: “Day by Day: Pieces of Life”.
Making color decisions was sometimes difficult so I challenged myself to use only one color from the color wheel each month during my daily design exercises. A box of one color, many shades and designs, sat on my worktable containing all the supplies I had collected at the beginning of the month. I started with Yellow in January and worked my way around the color wheel until I arrived at Green/Yellow in December. From my box of color I chose bits and pieces creating a 5″ x 5″ design/collage/drawing. The small format offered me the chance to explore design ideas as well as techniques. I could fuse the pieces together or sew them using my sewing machine needle and thread as a drawing tool.
By keeping a paper journal also, I could sketch ideas for future projects, larger works and design ideas I might want to explore as well as something that would contain fabric swatches and memories from my past. For instance, I grew up with a Myers lemon tree in my backyard, got married carrying daffodils and lived by the water on an island in Georgia. All these had color associations that sometimes inspired my collage designs.
When I needed a particular color for a collage, if I didn’t find it in my box, I would create what I wanted using my Color Hue dyes which are instant setting on silk. I could take a piece of silk fabric, add the dyes to the surface in a variety of ways and have the dyes be permanent while wet. I would then iron the fabric so it was dry and ready in minutes for me to use in my collage. This saved a lot of time and gave me a chance to put my imprint on fabric which became another direction I expanded into and taught others.
After completing the first year in the Color Series, I found I loved the daily design process and continued while exploring new designs and techniques. When the series of panels were first displayed at the Florida Craftsmen gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida viewers would ask me how I had created particular collages. In answering their questions about dyeing my own fabric and techniques I had used, workshops evolved. I have taught a variety of techniques: fusing foil to fabric, making 3-dimensional elements, creating landscapes with layers of raw edged textiles, dyeing fabric, etc. It is always exciting to see what other people do with my fabric putting their own imprint onto the fiber.
Turning others onto art and creating something they are pleased with is a pleasure. I have taught strangers and friends of all ages to create hand dyed silk, fabric paintings and collages using the daily design process. My workshops range from one hour lectures and demonstrations to all day classes that allow time to explore a variety of techniques. I have been honored with teaching at the Tampa Bay Museum of Art, Houston’s International Quilt Festival and in many schools. Beginners to advanced are all welcome in my classes and are invited to explore new ideas and techniques to incorporate in their lives and their artwork.