I'm excited that today is my day for the Lark Crafts Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits blog tour give away!
Firstly, let me say that the photographs in this book are stunning! Secondly, the write up for each artist is interesting and worth a good sit down to read all the way through with some nice coffee and chocolate treats. Martha Sielman has once again done a wonderful job pulling together some amazing artists and their works in a fascinating theme. I can't wait for the next one already!
I generally don't do people or portraits in my quilting, so I was fascinated by this book and awed! The work that these artists create is amazing, from the hyper realistic images of Maria Elkins and Sonia Bardella to the whimsical cartoon-like people of Susan Shie and Pam RuBert.
Pam is one of my absolute favorite artists. The first time I saw one of her pieces in a publication (I can't recall which it is was in now.) I fell in love with her work. There is something about her cartoonish blocks of color and heavy black lines that just excites me! (I'm also a huge fan of Alphonse Mucha, and while their styles are not identical by any means, to me they are applicable to one another.)
|Photo by Russ RuBert|
During the process of being asked to participate in this blog crawl giveaway for Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits, I was very fortunate that Pam agreed to answer some interview questions for me! So let's hear it from the source:
TFN: How did you get started quilting?
Pam: I was working on an illustration and looking at Japanese graphics for inspiration. And you know how it goes on the internet -- I'm looking at Japanese graphics, which led to Japanese fabrics, which led sewing and quilting websites, which led to art quilts and fiber art. I was overwhelmed by what I started to find, because I had never seen anything like that before. (This was over ten years ago.)
The next weekend I saw an article in the newspaper about a local quilt guild show. So I went, saw some work by a quilt artist who makes landscapes, and signed up for her workshop. It was all about piecing little triangles, which isn't my style at all, but it did expose me to the whole world of contemporary quilting. Previously my only exposure had been my grandmother's traditional quilts.
It took me many years after that though to teach myself through books, experimentation, a few workshops, and lot of help from my friends to assemble my own style and way of working.
TFN: What is your favorite thing in your studio/sewing room?
Pam: I have so many things in my room that I love!
One of the best is a 15' foot table that is about 40" wide and counter height. We got it at an auction from a very old company that was going out of business. It was called Springfield Tablet, and they made school notebooks - the Big Chief kind, spiral notebooks, and big and little art sketch pads. I don't know what they used the table for, but it was handmade with skinny strips of floor board for the top, so it's got long straight lines that I use to line up long sections of fabric and to square my quilts. I also use it lay out small designs, and make patterns.
Underneath is a huge shelf where I can store tons of stuff, and to hide all that stuff, I covered the sides with 1940's barkcloth draperies that came out of my grandmother's house. It took a trailer to get the table to our studio, and my husband and another guy to move it inside. I guess no one else had any use for a 15' table. My studio is so long, it works great in the space, and I got it for only $15.
|The Vintage Purse|
TFN: What are some of the most exciting moments of your career so far?
Pam: Probably the first time I got into Quilt National, I was so shocked that I kept checking my email to see if it was really true. I kept looking on fiber art forums to see if anyone else had been notified, or if it was just a hoax. Finally I saw a posting by Lisa Call, so I emailed her to make sure it was true and that's how I got to know her.
But every show and every book I've been featured in has been such an honor, and it's always exciting to be part of something bigger than yourself, and to share in the camaraderie of people who share your passion and understand your struggles. Being featured in Martha's book is very exciting, because she's done such a great job with the interviews and writing, and the printing of the photos of all the quilts is fabulous. I couldn't be happier.
TFN: What machine do you quilt with?
Pam: For small and critical details like faces and people, I use my Bernina Artista, that is currently having a few problems, so I may have to replace it. For my backgrounds and wide open spaces, I put the quilt on a frame and use a Viking MegaQuilter that I won in a Husvarna competition.
TFN: What is your favorite part of the creative process and why?
Pam: That's also hard to say. Drawing for me is core to the conceptualization and planning of my work, but it's also often a struggle -- kind of like writers who have writer's block, I sometimes know sort of what I want to make, but sitting down and making myself figure out how to put all my ideas together -- well that's a terrific place for the procrastination monster to take over and hover. So I say I like drawing, but if I have trouble making myself do it or keep avoiding it -- does that mean I really like it?
Probably the most exciting part of the process, is when it all starts to come together -- the drawing, the plan, the characters, the story, the colors, fabric choices, and stitching -- and it starts to become this big connected thing that starts to take on a life of its own. Kind of like when you're running a race or driving on a trip somewhere, and you can clearly see your destination, but you're not quite there. That's the most exciting, and that's the best.
|Yoga 101: The Corkscrew Pose|
TFN: What artists have inspired or influenced your work?
Pam: I really can't say that any one artist has inspired or influenced me, because I look at tons of art -- painting, illustration, sculpture, animation, installation, street art. And I'm kind of like a weed blowing in the wind, I'm easily bent in one direction or another, falling in love with this or that painting, palette, or style, and thinking, "oh my, I wish I could do that." But kind of like that little weed, I am rooted in my own personal DNA, and no matter how much I experiment, my work eventually comes back to the same themes with the same kind of personality behind it.
I don't think looking at work from all over the world and time is bad, in fact it's good. Just looking at one artist style, medium, or period of time can be stagnating and can also lead easily into imitation. When you look at a wide variety of work, eventually the things or influences that you bring back to your own will somehow work with your own artistic DNA.
The Give Away!
All you need to do is leave a comment for your chance to win this beautiful book! If you have your own question for Pam, post that and I will try and get the answer for you in a follow up post. I'll be drawing a person at random Friday morning!
**THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED***
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