Sunday, May 6, 2012
My Journey to the Paper Art Quilt
I was born and grew up in Seattle, Washington with my parents, a brother and two sisters. After high school I pursued a degree in Social Work and Community Organization and earned a degree from the University of Washington in 1972. I got my first 35mm camera while still in high school and was only partially aware of my aesthetic and creative interests. I did not entertain the idea of taking them seriously until I was in my early 30’s. I began school again as an undergraduate art major at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. In 1988 I arrived in Bloomington, Indiana to begin graduate school. And was awarded an MFA degree with a studio concentration in Textiles by Indiana University in 1991. Along the way I experimented in printmaking, photography and painting, as well as work with handmade paper and hand dyed felt while in graduate school.
Now we fast forward to the summer of 2008. I found myself longing for a new avenue of creative discovery. The time had come to lay aside the photo collage work that had engaged me for a number of years. This passage from one artistic endeavor to another is not new for me. When the time comes to search for new materials, process and form, it is always clear there is no going back. So goodbyes are said and the seeking begins.
The creative yearning was answered by the discovery of a new art form, the paper art quilt. The journey began with an opportunity to study with Anna Velez at the Indianapolis Art Center. Since 1994 she has refined a variety of techniques for the construction of paper art quilts and in particular her repeating block design system. She generously shares this information with students.
I came away with the answer I was looking for. I am attracted to formats and materials that are process oriented and physically engaging. Within the construction of the paper art quilt there is the opportunity to surrender to the unpredictable. While working, I enjoy being patiently absorbed in the work of transforming the raw into the refined, the pieces into the composition. In these moments I most readily yield to and cooperate with the creative impulse. Process becomes ritual in service to the created object. The ritual of creating a paper art quilt is about the whole being the sum of its parts and about each part being viable and intriguing.
Since completing my MFA degree at Indiana University I have integrated art in my life in ways that I might not have predicted in 1991. My current professional “day job” is totally unrelated to art. And I have been freed to be the “practicing artist” I planned to be. Today the time I spend in my studio is time that I live most fully in the present moment, relieved of the past and unconcerned about the future. I am grateful for the opportunity to continually pursue the impulse of creative discovery. I find that in my present life it is restorative, meditative and deeply fulfilling. It brings some degree of balance to my life and a great deal of pleasure and sense of purpose. The saying among textile artists is “Process, Process, Process!” You have to accept “process” or it’s not for you. I say “bring it on”. The process is ritual and inside the ritual is peace.
|"Screen" format-September 2011|