Five Questions for Artist Wen Redmond

Artist Wen Redmond will be teaching Digital Explorations in Fiber & Mixed Media from November 28-December 2 this year and well before her workshop, she took a moment to fill us in on her background and approach to art.

Q: What’s been your most unexpected source of inspiration?
WR: Inspiration abides everywhere! When I first started selling my work, viva a craft booth at shows, I found my work had stories, not just the construct but also the inspirations, the unconscious absorption of what I gain with my senses. As I talked, I learned about my own work and the ideas that went into it. This was the surprise! 

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
WR: Teaching is sharing inspirations. The connection and communication one experiences when with a group of like-minded people is a precious thing. It takes time to prepare a workshop that instructs and yet allows students creativity. It takes time to gather materials. Energy required for this equals energy not available for ones own work. There has to be a balance, difficult to achieve. 

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
WR: Presently, I have a relatively small studio in my home. A home studio suits my mode of working. Every space is used and thoughtfully planned out. The best thing I can do is simply replace items used as I finish with them. There is nothing worst than being in the throes of creativity and not being able to find the proper tool I need! That said, I like my storage to be visible, not behind doors. Visibility reminds me of the tools I have and the possibilities of using it.

Q: Who are your art heros? Who do you admire and why?
WR: So many, all medias. So hard to nail down. I love the adventures you can have, not only making art but viewing what others have made. I love the collage works of Joan Schultz and Fran Skies, the texture of Dorothy Caldwell, Sue Hammond West, and Jill Kettulla, the photography of the Starn twins and Michael James, the grubbiness of Anselm Kiefer, the painterly work of Deidra Adams, the journals of Roxanne Evans Stout, the encaustic work of Bridgette G Mills, the paintings of Patricia Larsen, Georgia O Keefe, and abstractionists, the pottery of Paulus Berensohn and MC Richards, the mixed media work of Masha Ryskin, Seth Apter, Takahiko Hayashi, Cas Holmes and so many others, and the nameless dozens of women who made art with fabric over the centuries.

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
WR: I’m looking forward to returning to my art and exploring all of the ideas in my file. Some of these ideas happened as I was writing my book! I’d make a sample and get ideas for another! I had too many for the book so I saved them to explore later. Ready and waiting for me! Recently I did a short video for CT Publishing on Shiny Surfaces, an extension of that section in my book. You can find the link in this blog post

Learn more about Wen’s workshop here.
Find out more about Wen on her website and give her a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube.

Five Questions For Quilt Artist Gloria Loughman

We’re so thankful to have Gloria Loughman returning for another fiber art workshop this year! Her workshop, The Textured Landscape, still has spots available and will run from August 26-September 1, 2018. Well before her workshop and in fact, right before she left on a quilting cruise – Gloria took a moment to share more about her background and approach to art with us.

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
GL: When I was growing up I like to play every sport available. I loved to run, climb trees, swim, sail and it never entered my head to sit still and paint or stitch. I actually failed needlework in year 7 when we had to stitch two samplers by hand and after that very negative experience I thought I would never attempt anything to do with sewing.

After finishing high school, I went to University and trained as a teacher of mathematics and physical education. Later on I went back and studied to be a teacher of students with special needs. It was after the birth of our second daughter, my husband surprised me one Christmas with a gift of a Bernina sewing machine. He now maintains it was his ‘biggest mistake’ as I set off to make cute clothing for our daughters and later on formal dresses.

In 1988, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, still in my 30’s it was a tough time in our lives but as I was recovering from surgery and chemotherapy, a friend invited me to a quilting class. I loved the whole process. The precision cutting and piecing, choosing colors, fabrics and patterns, designing my own traditional quilts etc. After making quilts for our family and lots of wall hangings, I became frustrated that I knew nothing about color or design so I enrolled in a Diploma Of Art which I did by distance education. It was a really busy time as I was teaching at school 4 days a week and busy doing my course the rest of the time. I had no time for making quilts. Once I had finished, I began making my large landscape quilts and then things have just progressed from there. What an incredible journey it has been!!

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next?
GL: I tend to work on one project at a time although I am always thinking about the next one. I tend to work in a series whether it be technique or theme based. When I have been working on my books, I sometimes have more than one project on the go.

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
GL: This never seems to be a problem. The problem is being home long enough to work through my ideas. I travel a lot. We love going camping in Australia, especially in the wildness areas. We also love wandering through old cities taking photographs. It has to be one of my favorite pastimes that I share with my husband. Taking photographs of old crumbling buildings, unusual color schemes that clash and I would never think to put together, close ups of unusual and fascinating textures …

So I am never short of inspiration and then it comes down to experimenting with a way of producing this image in fabric. I love art that is semi abstract and leaves the viewer filling in some of the spaces. This is what I am trying to pursue in my won work at the moment rather than reproduce a realistic copy of my inspiration.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
GL: I just love time in the studio and then I love sharing my techniques and ideas with others. I think I will be making art for the rest of my life and as I am nearly 70, I probably should stay home more and spend more time in the studio. Because I am away so much teaching classes and camping in Australia with friends, my time at home in the studio is precious and I value every minute of it. Sometimes it is just playing and other times it is working long days on a project. Always a treat!!

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
GL: I think the biggest risk I have taken was to leave my position as a team leader in a special school setting in a secondary school to teach quilt making. Our youngest daughter had just left school and we were supporting her at University in Melbourne. Financially it was quite a risk but after having breast cancer, my husband and I decided to take a chance and see how things worked out. It was a great decision. My husband is retired and usually accompanies me as we travel to so many amazing and beautiful places. We have friends from so many countries around the world and we even get the opportunity to host some of these friends at our home in Australia. We feel very fortunate.

Learn more about Gloria’s workshop here.
Find out more about Gloria on her website and give her a follow on Facebook.

Five Questions for Fiber Artist Ann Shaw

We’re so pleased to have fiber artist Ann Shaw joining us for a fall workshop on designing quilts from photographs from October 28-November 3! Before her workshop, Ann took a moment to fill us in on her background and approach to art!

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
AS: Working full-time as a quilt artist blossomed for me after I retired from an academic career as a biological anthropologist and forensic specialist. Though I have been passionate about quiltmaking for many years, I now have enjoy the time and freedom to explore pieced pictorial quilts as a artistic medium. This style of quilting is tactile, has explicit connections to the traditions of patchwork yet poses fascinating challenges such composition, color, texture, and abstraction. For me designing new quilts and sharing my ideas and techniques through teaching and inspiring others are part of the same creative spectrum. 

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next?
AS: I tend to work on multiple pieces concurrently. Some are pieces are new designs that join my quilt pattern series. Other pieces are one-of-a-kind designs that explore how the technical aspects of pieced quilt designs affect the visual impact of the completed piece. And then there are the bed quilts I make for my family, often based on traditional quilt blocks…… the walls of my quilt studio often have a number of different projects as well as piles and piles of fabric that sometimes get intermixed from project to project!

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
AS: I am a very visual person and I enjoy taking pictures, so my pictorial quilts begin with photographic images. I am constantly working to develop my skill of “seeing”, that is looking at the world and in my mind abstracting from it elements that make an interesting composition, that tell a story. For me, attempting to capture these images photographically is the first step to creating a quilt design. I keep many portfolios of images and ideas that inspire my work. When starting a new project, I select something that inspires me or is important to me in that moment.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
AS: Both the personal sense of satisfaction of seeing a project through to completion and the satisfaction of sharing my work with others keep me motivated.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
AS: For many artists, it is a big “risk” to share one’s work with others. Pouring one’s heart and soul into projects not knowing how it will be received by others creates both big risks and big rewards. I think it is the push and pull of those elements that makes one’s creative life interesting.

Learn more about Ann’s workshop here.
Find out more about Ann on her website and give her a follow on Facebook & Instagram.


Five Questions for Watercolorist Judi Betts

Watercolorist Judi Betts will join us from September 16-22 for a 5-day workshop on Watercolor . . . Creative Design & Innovative Color Patterns. In advance of her workshop, Judi took a moment to tell us a bit more about her background and approach to art!

Q: When did art first enter your life?
JB: Art has been important to me all my life. I was an art major at Indiana University and graduated in 1958. Teaching art in public schools, colleges and universities and teaching workshops around the world has been my passion, along with painting, since then. In other words … “I never put my crayons away.”

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
JB: In the mid 1960s I chose watercolor as an emphasis. Although I studied abstract expressionism I moved into what I call creative realism. Farm animals have been a reoccurring theme as I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and my father’s family was in the dairy business. After I was married and we moved to Louisiana, I became fascinated with boats because my husband was in the barge and tow boat industry. We were around ocean going vessels, fishing boats of all kinds, and smaller boats for streams and bayous. My passion for painting architecture developed because I have lived in the South for over 50 years and sunlight and shadows on old buildings has intrigued me. Having traveled extensively, I’m always delighted to paint the local scene.

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
JB: Sketching is very important to all of us. I encourage people to fill sketchbooks with drawings, paintings, and writing.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
JB: I’m always excited to try something different and to make new compositions. It seems I never run out of ideas. My creative thoughts flow continuously.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
JB: I look forward to the workshops I’ll teach in 2018 and to almost daily painting and designing.

Learn more about Judi’s workshop here.
Find out more about Judi on her website.