Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Member Profile: Michele Leavitt

At the first SAQA meeting I attended I met Michele Leavitt very briefly. I remember thinking after the meeting how I was looking forward to meeting her again and talking more about her work. Although we have yet to meet in person again I feel fortunate to share her answers to a few of my questions with all of you. Please check out her website too:

When did you start making art quilts?
I started piecing quilt tops as a child of 6 or 7 years. Quilt making is a tradition in my Mom's family for many generations going back.

What is your work like? What styles or techniques do you use?
Experimenting with materials is what I do - so my works contain a variety of construction techniques. However, if is fair to say that a majority of the landscape textile pieces are created with small bits of fabric top stitched to a backing.
Woods Cool

How did you learn the techniques you use? 
Invention is the thing for me - other than how to use a sewing machine and how to construct a basic quilt, I make most of my techniques up to meet a particular need.

Are you working on a particular theme or series now?
After a long series of textile quilt landscapes (12 larger ones in addition to ten 3 X 5's) I have wanted to get back to the more political quilts I made in the past. I am working on a piece that has targets all over, right now.

How do you work? What is your design process?
Oh that's is a tough one. I am not making art works to be recognized or to make sales. I make stuff because I enjoy it challenging myself to expression of a certain concept, a question, and/or a thing of beauty. So I generally start with an idea which can be anything - like a group of interesting colors, or the question can I 'paint' with textiles, I have also dreamt quilt ideas. I believe that the idea is the main thing and everything used to make a piece - techniques, colors, textures and so on - must support the idea. Studio time seems to be primarily spent on construction of the piece. When it is a quilt, I start in the middle and work my way out.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Saunderstown RI where I live is a delightfully beautiful little village along the western coast of Narragansett Bay that 'posed' continuously. Additionally news events inspire me to communicate my responses, and sometime I am just playing. And at times I work to meet a challenge which also brings new ideas and techniques.
Manhasset Bay

What is your studio like and when do you like to work?
My studio is big and bright and fairly messy and I like to work when I can't resist the temptation!

What are your goals or aspirations for your art?
To make everything I create be the best I can do or it doesn't leave the studio.

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