I would like to introduce you to Linda Friedman for October's interview with local artists. Linda is an extremely talented and creative fiber and surface design artist. Enjoy getting to know Linda!
How do you describe yourself as an artist?
In years past, I was immersed in watercolor and oil painting but when I discovered that painting could be successfully incorporated into fiber arts, along with the possibility of integrating heretofore nontraditional elements, exciting opportunities of hands-on interaction with my art leapt beyond paper and canvas. Although I often balk at labels, I suppose I would call myself a fiber artist, a surface designer and quilt artist.
Please describe your work.
Most often my works develop intuitively. Inspiration may come from a concept, a color, a sound, a feeling or an image, among other stimuli. Often I will not have a complete and concrete picture in my mind so this is when creation takes on a life of its own. The freedom that comes from fabric painting and dying, and free motion stitching is exceedingly liberating.
Describe the path you have taken to develop your art.
Since I very much admire fine, traditional quilting, I began trying my hand at it about 12 years ago. Although I was producing successful works, my spirit wished to experience more. The first “What if…” turned into a consuming passion to try different artful applications with fabric. For the longest time I explored painting and then quilting on fabric within the confines and privacy of a tiny space at my kitchen counter. Soon I began adding found objects and embossed metal pieces into my works. At that time, very little about art quilting was to be found on the internet so I created mostly in a void. Fortunately, the definition of a quilt began to change and I started to emerge from my private cocoon. I first found great art connections through a mini art quit group in Glendale, California and then found Studio Art Quilt Associates, and Quilts on the Wall, an outstanding Southern California art quilt group as well as Artistic Expressions and Serendipity Art Quilts, two more forward thinking, creative groups of artists. My interactions with these groups have led to ever opening doors into the great big world of artistic opportunities.
What inspires you?
Sometime ago I read Twyla Tharps’s book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. This world renowned choreographer’s notes on creativity became life changing for me. She reflected that “Creativity is not a gift from the gods bestowed by some divine and mystical spark. It is the product of preparation and effort and within the reach of everyone…” Midway through her book, I took one of her clues and ran with it. Practice, practice, practice.
Life in all its serendipitous manifestations inspires me. Nature, people, street art, social movements, color, form, and all art inspire me. Colorful spools of thread and stacks of vibrant fabric inspire me. A new day, a new thought, a new relationship, and a new book inspires me. Paints, new tools and new applications inspire me. Art exhibits inspire me. To sum it up, being alive to create another day inspires me to put the pedal to the metal while enjoying the clickety click sound of the needle penetrating fabric as a work is fashioned from idea to piece. No longer do I work at the little kitchen counter but, instead, I enjoy most days with the sounds of chirping birds in my large, airy, light filled studio that sits high among the sycamore trees.
What do you want to communicate with your art?
Somewhere in each of my works is a message. Sometimes it is a visual message. At times it is a conceptual message. Other times it is merely joy in color and life that I wish to communicate. Often the subtext of each of my works has a message of hope, for with hope all things become possible.
Do you teach?
In the spirit of paying forward, I share or teach learned processes on my blog. Over the years I have learned much from others who have selflessly shared their techniques and methods, and I truly believe that I owe this to others.
Do you exhibit?
Yes, I do exhibit my work. I have had gallery exhibits in California, New Mexico, Ohio and in open studio events. I have also shown my work locally at art studios and libraries and nationally at various quilt shows.
Please tell us more about free motion machine quilting.
When the process of quilting a creation begins, I make sketches of what I think might compliment the art work. Then I audition the various sketches by stitching them onto small pieces that I have made into mini quilts. When I settle upon a quilting design, I begin to quilt the big work, but invariably the free motion stitching aspect allows for great creative flexibility and the final quilting outcome seldom mimics the chosen design completely.
Practice is the KEY. Every morning when I arise, I shuffle off to my sewing machine with my first cup of coffee, pick up a 6”x6” square of batted and backed fabric, put it under the needle and practice a new free motion stitching motif. Often I will start with a random, perhaps curvy, line and develop a motif from there. At other times I may start with a free motion motif that I discovered on a website such as Leah Day’s “Day Style Designs” where Leah selflessly shares almost limitless free motion designs that she has created. Sometimes I’ll stitch away for a half an hour or more. While doing this repetitive activity, ideas for completing a work or visions of a new work often spring to mind. Surprisingly, one day a person came to visit my studio to see some of my works and to learn a little about the art quilt genre. When she saw one of my practice pieces she fell in love with it said she had to have it. She bought it on the spot. The only condition was that I make it into a pillow top so that she could permanently display it on her living room sofa!
Please visit Linda’s blog to enjoy more from this wonderful artist: http://lindasartquilts.blogspot.com/
from deborah stanley: http://deborahstanleyinspirations.blogspot.com/