Thursday, December 31, 2015

Member Profile: Gwyned Trefethen

 I am pleased to share this member profile interview with Gwyned Trefethen. I really felt like we were old friends after reading all of her answers. I am finding this to be such a fun way to get to know our club members! You can visit Gwyned websites too... and

When did you start making art quilts?

This should be a simple question to answer, but it isn’t. I took my first quilting class in 1988. I knew nothing about art quilts and very little about quilting. Over the next decade I gradually transitioned from traditional quilts to art quilts that were completely my own design.

Gwyned Trefethen

What type of work do you do - abstract/realist/representational...? What styles or techniques do you use?

My work is often abstract and sometimes representational. I use whatever technique suits the current piece. I am fascinated by layering, not just the quilt sandwich, but the layering of quilted or thread painted appliques, stitching and any embellishment that calls out to me, such as beads, yarn and Angelina fibers.

How did you learn the techniques you use? (Did you study with a mentor, self-taught, etc?)

In the early years I took many workshops, especially ones that taught either techniques and/or design principles. Now I lean towards experimentation or on-line learning if I need to master a new technique.

Do you have a favorite color palette?
Value is what cries out to me, far more than a particular palette. I am not drawn to neutrals and am more likely to use tints and shades versus toned colors.

Deconstructed Sunrise #3

Are you working on a particular theme or series now? Tell us more about it.

I just finished making four pieces in a row that I have dubbed the Deconstructed Sunrise series. I am fortunate to live in a condo that overlooks a small lake. The sunrise can be spectacular. My husband and I participate in the National Bike Challenge each summer. Since we head out before the sunrise (we have bike lights) we often get to see the sunrise during our outing, frequently over the Lake Winnebago. The views and contemplative time riding led me to create a variety of pieces that include stitched over sections of sunrise photographs peaking out from pieced backgrounds in a sunrise palette.

How do you work? Give us some insight into your design process?

I do not keep an artist’s journal of ideas. I do journal first thing every morning and have done so for approximately 20 years. Many of my ideas and insights come during the process of journaling and when I am exercising (biking, walking or in yoga class.) I explore my ideas in my head allowing my natural stream of conscientiousness to test possibilities and ponder how the idea could be executed. Once I have settled on an idea, I very roughly sketch out the framework along the lines of a blueprint. This provides me with a guide on relative sizes and placement of the design. Next I will I choose a palette and gather fabric that works together, organizing it by hue and value within the hue. I then start assembling the top, using the blueprint as a guide, but not something to be rigidly adhered to if inspiration strikes.
Deconstructed Sunrise

Do you work on a single project at a time or do you work on multiple pieces at once?
I typically work on one project at time. However, if I don’t have a deadline to adhere to, I might start the next piece while doing the finishing hand sewing for the current piece.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Hands down – curiosity. I am fascinated by the question “what would happen if …?”

What is your studio like and when do you like to work?
I am extremely fortunate to have a large, well-organized studio made possible by our move from Massachusetts to Wisconsin in 2010. It is the lower level of our condo with pictures windows overlooking the lake. It is 30’ x 40’. The laundry room is beside the studio and it doubles as my wet studio. One of the counters is padded, covered in plastic sheeting and includes a large “laundry” sink. I had the studio renovated to suit me before we moved in, so besides the natural light, there are many judiciously placed lights, a 120” W x 72” H design wall, and vinyl floors that are can easily be swept up or vacuumed.

What are your goals or aspirations for your art?
My goal is to keep making art for as long as I am able and inspired.

How are you making the most of your SAQA membership? Which aspects of the organization are you enjoying?

I find that volunteering is the best way to get to know SAQA, my fellow members and make discoveries about all that SAQA has to offer. I first volunteered as the Rep for SAQA MA/RI region. Later, I joined the Exhibition Committee as its Secretary. I have been the Chair of the Exhibition Committee since February 2015. I love being able to have a voice in the direction that SAQA is heading. From a personal development standpoint, I find the Visioning Project, outstanding.

Do you design your art with a purpose in mind (function of the piece, for a particular call for entry, a commission)? Tell us about that…

Most of my work is designed with a particular call in mind with the knowledge that if it doesn’t get in, I can always try another call. I have done some commissions as well.

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