Wednesday, August 19, 2009

St. Louis Artists' Guild- Chris Motley

EXHIBITING GALLERY: St. Louis Artists' Guild
TITLE OF SHOW: Head to Toe: From the Funky to the Sublime
OPENING DATE AND CLOSING DATE: September 20th, 2009- November 7th, 2009
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A juried exhibition that will challenge the notion of functionality yet honor the tradition of wearable art. Work shown will range from head to toe, the Funky to the Sublime and the functional to the non-functional. All textile techniques are encouraged.

St. Louis Artists' Guild
Two Oak Knoll Park
St. Louis, Missouri 63105

Submitted by Artist: Chris Motley

  • Tell us a bit more about yourself: your location, professional affiliations, personal stuff

I’m a late bloomer in the art field. After a 30 year career in a left-brain job, I am exploring my right brain and using my life-long avocation of knitting and felting as the medium for my entry into the art world. After initial explorations with yarn as more than garments, I received great affirmation that I wasn’t crazy to use knitting as a sculpture form when I attended workshops with Karen Searle and Adrian Sloan.

I’d been selling scarves through small boutiques even before I left the regular work world. In the last three years I’ve moved into knitting as a means of sculpture, making neckpieces and three-dimensional sculptures, one of which is the picture accompanying this blog entry. I love living in San Francisco with my husband. I have two grown children and I love that they’re a bit intrigued and proud of my new venture. Having known me as a lawyer as they grew up, I’m enjoying that they, and others, can see how one can venture into new territory.

  • What is your ideal day in the studio? What is your agenda? What music do you listen to?

I’ve made a studio from the front bedroom in our house. It has glass cube shelves to the ceiling on two walls which I got from a yarn store that was closing. The yarn is sorted by color and fiber. I have an armless chair with wonderful back support for hours of knitting. Many of my pieces use different yarns constantly and I can knit without bumping my elbows; I can sit for forever with a color scheme of yarn around me on the floor and reach whatever I need as I knit. I have no agenda, and always have more than one project going at a time so I can tap into the type of work that day that feels right. I often listen to books as I knit. My studio space is wonderful.

  • How does your process of creating an art object begin?

I have two creative processes (that I am conscious of) for which I have totally different modes of operation. One is more of a production mode, when I’ve settled on a design and have developed the basic design. Knitting is a slow process and from this process itself a design idea can emerge; I often grab an idea out of what I’m working on and explore that. (I keep a notebook, of course.) I’ve worked a lot on sculptural pieces of hands and arms and a sculptural piece that deals with arms led to my thinking of the design for the scarf in this show—that a scarf should have arms to hug around like a scarf naturally does. Alternatively I see something either real or in my head, unrelated to yarn at all, that triggers a curiosity of what it would be in yarn. I knit intuitively and make a new piece just by starting to knit without pre-planning.

  • Could you do your art without an audience? How important is feedback?

Feedback on my art is a crucial part of my process. My participation is an art group has been vital to me as I evolve into being an artist. We meet once a month to share our work and their feedback has been instrumental in my artistic development. Feedback from the people who want to purchase or show my work is also a wonderful affirmation. I would be knitting in any case, but I could never say I don’t love hearing that people like what I create.

  • When do you feel you hit your stride as an artist?

I don’t think I’ll ever hit my stride as an artist. In fact, it’s interesting to that perhaps I hope I don’t ever hit my stride so there will always be a new exploration involved. That is one of the things I’m enjoying the most.


  1. Chris,

    I love "Living Alone"!! So creative -- simply amazing. :-)

  2. Chris, Your piece is simply awesome....wonderfully creative, and so very
    worthy of this are you! Congratulations!