Larkin Van Horn recently asked on the QuiltArt list if anyone changed their medium for 6 mo to a year. And if we did , did we come back to fiber and why, or why not. There have been some wonderful introspective posts from other fiber artists about their personal journeys.
I was fortunate in school to be able to explore most of the mediums. I went to an inner city high school with the art studio rooms taking up nearly the entire basement floor of the school. We had huge kilns for clay, small kilns for jewelry, model spaces and easels for drawing , stained glass equipment, rug making and hooking module, free form sculpture, jewelry tools and equipment as well as watercolor and oil painting. I had an instructor who was passionate about our learning about each area of art so we could decide what we were passionate about. I didn’t get as good an education at the college level so here is my hats off to Ms. Bleaks and the old Stephen Decatur High School.
I can say I loved it all but I learned early I did not like getting my hands dirty. That left out all sculpture and clay, as well as most jewelry making since I couldn’t stand the rosin and polishing gunk on my hands. I loved the rug making and all the drawing and painting classes.
I am drawn to serendipitous results of paint and being able to manipulate it to form the composition in my head. I like the immediacy of it. Then an unknown event happened and I started working in fiber. I think it was the challenge to see if I could do it by myself. I am self taught in traditional quilting and won some prestigious awards. But I hate following patterns or someone else’s ideas. I rarely made a trad quilt without my own personal twist. When I saw my first copy of Quilting Arts Magazine. I knew in an instant that this was where my heart would lie.
I spent a couple of years recently exploring weaving again. I wanted to create in another form of fiber. It wasn’t ever an attempt to stop working in art quilts but an adjunct. It was way too physically demanding and I sold the largest loom. I still have small looms and my precious stash of luscious yarns gets used for crochet ..again, I can’t follow patterns. I love that I can dye the yarns along with my fabric and the results are just as serendipitous.
It has been a journey that I can happily say is still active. As the years have passed by, my fiber art has morphed. There is a definite progression from what it was to what it is now. My fiber is starting to take on more painterly aspects and I can see ME in both paint and fiber. I choose which medium works for what I want to do or I combine the two of them. Below are 2 of my floral pieces [although I am doing more abstract work now] that I think show you the connection. The quilt on the left is an unfinished shot, though it is finished now . I use quilting and thread to blur the edges of applique to look more like paint strokes. The painting on the right is a large acrylic piece. Can you tell I like hot colors?