Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What's going on in Nancy Turbitt's studio

Hi, I'm Nancy Turbitt. I live in rural Rhode Island and my studio, which I named Studio Girasole (Girasole is Italian for sunflower), is a large room at the back of my home. It is filled with light from sliders onto two decks, skylights and three large triple pane windows. Yes I am very fortunate that my husband has allowed me to overtake this gorgeous room. It gives me a lot of light when I want to be sure of my color choices but it presents problems in keeping fabrics from fading. Unlike Sue's new and neat studio, mine is always messy. You could do an I Spy with my photos.

I have been sewing art quilts since 1995, developing a style which is true to me. But only recently have I decided it is time to get serious. I stepped away from my full time retail position to be at home full time. I often help my husband at his jewelry store but for the most part this is the beginning of my retirement - straight into my art. I came to art quilts from two directions, as an art student-college trained, and as someone who learned to sew at age 11. I saw the 'Deck of Cards' exhibit in a Smithsonian Magazine and life has not been the same since. My two loves fused and I now have a path to pursue.

I am currently pursuing my goals as if they were a huge tree with many branches. My roots are solid and I am reaching for several goals concurrently. I am looking to build a body of work through several series, my Santa Fe series, my garden series, my fantasy series, and my nostalgia series. Each series will have 5 to seven pieces which are cohesive in style. I have completed some in each series. I am the queen of UFOs, moving from one quilt to the next as the need arises. Another goal is to exhibit as much as possible. So I have been looking at my drawings for each series critically so as to apply them to upcoming calls for entry. Due to time requirements I have moved from working one quilt to another to complete in time for a show. There is always something partly done on my board or on my table and I have a stack of UFOs awaiting the right time to get back to them.

I use cotton and silk fabric almost exclusively and keep most of it in an armoire which I keep closed when I'm not using it.

 I used to work for Fabric Place, which went out of business and when they did I purchased my work table which is massive, with an extension that I always have up and in use. Below the table are drawers and cupboards where I keep scads of things from my batting to buckets of trims, ribbons, beads and my finished quilts. I use my Bernina almost exclusively as it is a perfect work horse giving me even stitches without breaks. I also have an old brother I used for teaching kids, a Pfaff, and a Baby Lock serger. Mine is a dry studio. I do not do any dying any more, but rely on those who do and sell their hand dyes. I do have paints and fabric markers and some lino blocks so I can explore printing my own designs.

On my wall now is a piece from my fantasy series called Queen Bee, she is one of a series of nature royalty meant to awaken a spirit of concern for our environment. You can see corners of it but I am not showing it fully as I hope to enter her into a SAQA show this fall.

On my table you can see the backing roll of a piece I am doing for entry to one of the IQF shows. I cannot show you any of that at all. There is a stack of UFOs on top of the table folded inward. In that stack are 'Monumental', 'Beyond the Deep', 'Peter and the Wolf' and 'Peter's World'; one from the Santa Fe series, two from the fantasy series and one from the nostalgia series.

I tend to be wordy so I will clip it here. If you are ever in my neck of the woods, please drop by for a visit. My address and phone are accurate on the SAQA member list. Come on by, we can play in the studio!"

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