Friday, May 13, 2011

How Am I Doing?

Embrace (2011) Art quilt with mixed-media collage
Embrace(2011) is my latest creation as a professional mixed media artist. It is a collaboration of my favorite mediums and techniques - collage, fabric, and sculpture.   I enjoy combining small bits of this and that to create something new and exciting.   Collage and quilting do just that.   As a youth, I enjoyed giving family and friends unique gifts from my heart and hands.  I always had little money for art supplies, but my mother was an elementary school teacher who always had construction paper, crayons, and glue.  I would raid her stash of old magazines, kitchen cabinets, and jewelry drawers for things I could use in my art creations.  These early exploits began my foray into the world of collage.  

Soft Sculpture saxophone detail
My mother was also an amateur seamstress.  She never let me on her sewing machine, but she gave me needle, thread, and fabric scraps.   I loved the feel of the needle passing through the fabric.  Working with the needle and thread was calming.  It allowed my mind to escape the cares of the world.  As I grew, I realized making clothes was not my thing.  Instead, I'd rather use fabric to create beauty I could hang on walls for all to see.  

Bas Relief Singer detail
After watching, Ghost, starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg, I convinced my mother to buy me a mini-pottery wheel.  I never mastered that thing.  Even after taking classes, I really disliked throwing clay.  But someone suggested I try hand building.  Now, that was my speed.  I appreciated the feel of the clay and my ability to mold it into something special.  However working with clay is expensive.  So I reached back into my fabric stash and began experimenting with fabric sculpture.

Hand stitched ribbon detail
Embrace(2011) marks more than the beginning of a spirit led art career. It signifies the merging of all of my artistic passions into one piece. I randomly cut warm colored fabric shapes from repurposed clothes and curtains.  I used fabric fusing techniques to collage these pieces to create a vibrant art quilt focal point.   Then I used fabric sculpture techniques to mold a 3-D saxophone and bas relief singer.   The gold ribbons leaping from the instrument were hand stitched to the art quilt symbolizing music's embrace over every aspect of a community.  Next, I collaged a stretched canvas with layers of sheet music containing old jazz standards, acrylic paint, tulle, and gel medium.  I'm inspired by language and the sheet music represents the language of music.  Finally, I hand stitched the art quilt to the sheet music to complete the story.
Screen-printed homes detail
I am a self-taught artist transforming a creative hobby into a professional career. Many artists believe extraordinary art is determined by a work's design composition (balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, unity) and artistic elements (line, shape, form, space, color, value, texture).  As creative individuals, we can grow from each other's feedback.   How well do you think Embrace addresses design composition and artistic elements?  I would love to read your honest and informed comments to further my development as an artist.

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