Lately I’ve been called to work with textiles — dyeing, stitching and weaving. I have a long history with textile art. It’s familiar territory, and it feels like coming home.
As a child and young adult, I loved to sew my own clothes. From there I moved on to quilting, dyeing, weaving and crochet. I studied fiber arts in college and I owned a fiber arts store in the 1990s. My roots in fiber are deep.
People often say that my paintings look like textile art. One of my teachers, Bee Colman, used to say, “Once a fiber artist, always a fiber artist,” and that has certainly been true for me. No matter what medium I use my art has the look of fiber art.
I’m using textiles for my new “Mending Grief” series of work because I think they’re more appropriate than painting. Mending, stitching to repair fabric, works well as a metaphor for healing. And I like that textiles are also what we use to keep ourselves protected and warm.
Right now I mostly have bits and pieces that I’m working on, and I’m not sure how it will all come together. I continue to stitch and weave, and trust that the finished pieces will evolve into something beautiful.
Here’s some of what I’ve done so far. I’m using a lot of different media for this work. Cropped pieces of paintings with handstitching on top. Pieces of worn jeans and plaid shirts found at local thrift stores. Pieces of burlap and doilies that were used in leaf printing. Hand-dyed yarns woven into rustic looking backgrounds. And rust-stained pieces of canvas.
I’m thinking of showing the “Mending Grief” pieces with my small found object sculptures, which have a similar theme of solitude and longing. These are created from found rocks, shells, driftwood, pieces from cropped paintings and other relics.
What’s calling to you? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,