Last week I went to Asheville to hear Laura Cater-Woods, a working studio artist, give her lecture about how she came to fibre art. She has an M.F.A. and started off as painter. All was well, until she went to a Quilt National show. This is an amazing, cutting edge, bi-annual (odd years) art quilt show held in the Dairy Barn in Athens, OH. There she discovered what can happen when artists make quilts and she started her love affair with fabric. The rest is history. Laura uses mainly batiks for her piecing and thread paints over it.
She spoke about the Fine Art vs Craft division that a lot of people hold to. Her philosophy is that the best art is well crafted and good craft is art. That there really isn’t a hard and fast split. I really agree with this and I love craft better than fine art, because you can see and feel the artist’s hand in the work. It is meant to be touched and used.
Some of Laura’s work:
Shell Game – detail
Solace – detail
Solace – detail
Over the next couple of days I had the privilege of taking Laura’s two day workshop Tempting the Muse. She taught her piecing technique and gave many helpful tips for thread painting and keeping your sewing machine happy.
In addition to being a fantastic teacher, Laura is a Creativity Coach. I learned about the creative process in general and how to embark on making a new piece of fibre art by starting where I know I want to start and working out each step of the design and making process as it comes. And keeping the process open to respond to where my journey takes me.
I was initially inspired by transition, bridges, crossing over to a new place – which is exactly where I am in my life. On my way to Asheville, I had stopped to look at the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge (1896) in Catawba County, NC.
As I worked out my initial sketches someone suggested that I get out of the box. So I began with the image below as my starting point, my Stillpoint. I am using a color palette inspired by my trip to Ocmulgee.
This piece will be three dimensional and will include words and text. It is about coming Home. It was so great to be working with fabric since I have been away from a sewing machine for nearly 2 ½ weeks! Laura and everyone else in the workshop kept calling me Lindy. I love it! Part of my voyage of discovery on this trip is re-connecting with my Southern roots. My mom used to call me Lindy Lou and since everyone has to have two names in the South, Lindy Lou it is.
On the way back to Mooresville I stopped off at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia for some more batiks to complete my palette.
At the workshop I met some very talented fibre artists, was invited to join the Asheville Quilt Guild (which I did!) and have entered a quilt in their August 2007 show.
Sunspots – Wendy Bowen
Prayer – Willow Glenne Austin
Willow owns a custom fabric wallhanging business called Laughing Willow Designs. I am definitely going to get together with her soon and swap some text onto textile techniques.