|Commissioned art-quilt for Samantha Schuli|
A 20 year career as a visual artist, I am mostly self-taught. I began early on with drawing and painting, and briefly studied oil, watercolor, and pastel with a few classes here and there. Later I played around a bit with acrylic and mixed media. An amateur photographer since my teens, the digital age ushered in Photoshop and I was hooked from the start. Leaving the traditional darkroom behind, I began to incorporate digital and mixed media in my artwork. And while I had been brought up learning to sew, I never really equated sewing with art. However that changed several years ago when I discovered the wild and wonderful world of art-quilts. Here I was able to bring all my previous skills and a variety of media to this beautiful, tactile expression. Sewing brought something else to my work that I appreciate perhaps more than any other aspect; a connection to the grandmother that taught me to sew....and to make my very first quilt.
I still take time out to just draw, or paint. My fascination with the evolution of my Winged Things series is a testament to the fact that painting is simply in my blood! I even do a sculpture series using a blend of poly clays. My original glass beads and pendants are also incorporated into some of my design work. And while I make these pieces available in a variety of exhibits, I would have to say that art-quilting is the primary medium for my commission work. It just seems to provide a perfect arena for telling the family stories that beg to be creatively conveyed. So, while many of my Family Album commissioned pieces are considered "finished works" in and of themselves before I print them on fabric to be quilted and embellished, my clients have yet to prefer the 'before' imagery to the wonderfully textural art-quilt that emerges. Then there are the commissioned art-quilts that have no reference to family or photos. These are so much fun because the client has seen my work and simply asks for my interpretation of a theme or idea they have. This is reflected in the above photo of a commission piece I was asked to do on the subject of cactus and succulents. Painting and art-quilting go hand in hand when it comes to my preference in creative expression. I enjoy the ability to switch between the two or incorporate them both into my work.