EXHIBITING GALLERY: St. Louis Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art at Crossroads Gallery
TITLE OF SHOW: Made by Hand
OPENING DATE AND CLOSING DATE: September 8th, 2009 - October 8th, 2009
Opening Reception: Friday September 11th, 7-9pm
IT8 bus tour: Saturday, October 3Felted Teka workshop with Nino Hecht: Sunday, October 4, 1-4pm
CURATOR OR JUROR: Jo Stealey
SHORT BYLINE/ DESCRIPTION OF SHOW: A regional juried exhibition sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art. Juried by fiber artist Jo Stealey.
Stealey is an art professor and head of the fiber department at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Featued in the exhibition into the exhibition: Roxanne Phillips, Pat Owoc, Jennifer Weigel, Virginia Dragshutz, Clairion Ferron, Nino Hecht, Lydia Brockman, Linda Elkow, Jean Mills, Janice Nesser, Kathy Weaver, Betsy Dollar, Christine Ilewski, Trish Williams, Lisa Becker, Marie Samuels, Evie Shucart and Leslie Hume
Crossroads Art Studios and Gallery
Tell us a bit more about yourself: your location, professional affiliations, personal stuff…
I am a textile artist living in Chicago. For the past eight years my work has been extensively shown locally in Chicago, throughout the Midwest, nationally in the US and internationally. In 2004 I was awarded an exhibition grant by the Illinois chapter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Currently three of my pieces hang in the American Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire. In 2009 my work was shown in an international invitational exhibit in Taiwan. I am a Professional Member of the Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA), and am currently curating their international exhibit “Reflections” which just closed at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. I am a founding member of Fiber Artists Coalition (FAC), an exhibiting group, and a member of the Surface Design Association (SDA) and The Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) as well as the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC).
Please describe your creative process: how you create, when, where, with what materials
I create fiber collages and drawings by piecing, fusing, stitching and quilting commercial fabrics and fabrics I have dyed, painted, mono- or screenprinted or shiboried; (shibori is a Japanese technique that is a very sophisticated tiedye).. Sometimes I begin with a piece of white cloth, paint or draw on it with thickened dyes or textile paint or Shiva oil sticks; then I stitch (by hand or machine) other fabrics on top. I use raw edge appliqué, fusing (which uses a paper backed glue web) or reverse appliqué. I may make just one or many layers. Then I add batting and a back and machine quilt to hold the layers together. The final step is to add a sleeve to the back so a rod or slat may be inserted to hold the piece up.
What first inspired you to become an artist? What possession do you most cherish?
I have loved needlework of all sorts all my life—I learned to knit and embroider before I was five. But my formal education has been in literature. I got a Masters and began but did not finish my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. For many years I taught English, writing, and ESL (English as a Second Language) at Roosevelt University in Chicago, The University of New Orleans, and Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.
In 1989, when my daughter was two, I learned how to quilt. My mother’s family was from the hills of Kentucky, so I had heard stories of quilts and quilting all my life. I cherish the Double Wedding Ring quilt my great-grandmother made for her own bed. But I never knew these relatives, and my mother did not quilt. I had to find out on my own. I was quickly caught up in the quilt world, but discovered early on that I didn’t like to follow patterns, but enjoyed working spontaneously. In 1997 I attended the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio. In my family we call it “Quilt Camp.” It changed my life. In 2000, I decided to stop teaching and become a full time studio artist.
What is a typical day for you?
I have both a wet studio (where I paint, print and dye) and a dry studio (for designing and sewing) in my house in Hyde Park. I try to work in one of the studios every day. Even when I don’t want to, I tell myself “Just 15 minutes.” Of course, this is what I really love to do.