When did you start making art quilts?
This is a relatively new area for me as I've predominantly been a painter, crazy-quilter and embroidery fiend for most of my adult life. In early 2014 I discovered fabric collage and fell in love with its improvisational nature. It is freeing and quicker than crazy quilting and embroidery and even more satisfying because I can change what I'm doing in an instant. I often combine it with other mediums such as acrylic paint, embroidery and bead-work. I should add here that my mother is a phenomenal quilter and I think I stayed away from the medium until recently because there was no way I was going to learn to do all the piecing and hand quilting that she does on her traditional quilts. But then I found this different way to work and a light bulb went off for me.
What type of work do you do - abstract/realist/representational...? What styles or techniques do you use?
I like to work abstractly (though it often takes a representational turn) using scraps of found or donated fabric. Color plays the most important role in the process although I also pay attention to texture and love working with a wide variety of fabric. Hand marbled velvet that I buy from another maker is my current favorite! I lay the fabric down on a base of cotton, canvas or vinyl and then machine topstitch it into place with random patterns. I often make Wearable Fiber Art pieces utilizing this same technique as a base for bracelets, necklaces and bags. Some of the bags are produced with another maker. We have formed a collaboration called FriskyMama's. I do the decorative work on the bag flaps and send to her to construct the bags. We met as part of the Artisans of Western Mass group that we belong to and it has turned into a great partnership and friendship too.
Do you have a favorite color palette?
My favorite color palette is BRIGHT and I gravitate towards blues and purples but the whole rainbow excites me - the more vibrant the better, the more colors the better. My work is far from subtle.
Are you working on a particular theme or series now?
I've recently started incorporating this work in a series of Neuro-Brain paintings - The first one I did was crazy quilted, then I did a fully embroidered one and now I've completed two that incorporate fabric collage: Blue Skies (12x12) is the last one in the series. I expect to continue working on this and would like to go bigger. I'm also playing around with hoops to display my work, such as the Wild Flower (10 inch round).
How do you work? Give us some insight into your design process?
I like to work organically and improvisationally. I have a broad idea of what I want to do but I feel my way through it once I have fabric in my hands and the end result is often quite different than what I had in my mind's eye. I do the fabric collage first, adhering bits of fabric to the base with temporary spray adhesive. Once it is all in place the way I like it, I topstitch with invisible thread sometimes following the edge of the collaged fabric and sometimes working a grid through it. I then embellish with embroidery thread and beads.
What is your studio like and when do you like to work?
My studio is located at the back of my old Victorian house located in the foothills of the Berkshires in Western Mass. The kitchen opens up to it and I love that it has a door I can shut when I leave so I don't have to look at the mess. And yes, I'm very messy. I have bins of fabric scraps roughly sorted by color and I pull them all out and rummage around until I find just the right shade, texture, color that I need in that moment. I spend full days in my studio but find the morning is my most productive time. The evenings are when I do most of my handwork - hand sewing, embroidery and bead work.
What are your goals or aspirations for your art?
I started a new handmade business when I moved up to Massachusetts from New York in 2012 called Frisky Furnishings, and hope to continue to grow it so that it can sustain me in retirement. I currently work part time at a local college in an administrative position spending 3 days a week there and the other 4 blissfully in my studio. I'd like to spend 5 days a week in my studio and take off 2 days a week! While I exhibit my fine art locally I'm very interested in branching out to a more national audience with it and hope to find some opportunities that will be a good fit for my work through my membership in SAQA.