Stacy Hurt Interview
• Please describe your journey as an artist.
My first attempts at sewing were disastrous and ended in my Junior High School home economics class back in the 70’s. Sometime later in the 80’s I needed a costume for a Halloween party and threw caution to the wind, bought some fabulous fabrics (chosen based solely on the feel of them!) and created my own vampire cape, fully lined with a free standing 16 inch collar that was covered in rhinestones. I discovered then how freeing creativity can be. The only thing I kept from my earlier teachings was how to operate the machine. After winning a few prizes for that cape, I ended up selling it to a costume shop who offered me $100. At the time, I felt so rich. Happily that wouldn’t be the first time I was paid for my seamstress ability even though it was strictly costume creation I was into. If you needed something hemmed, well, that’s what scotch tape was for right?
My daughter was born in 1993, within a few months I bought an el cheapo machine and started making her clothing. I figured I could risk patterns again as they were so tiny! I fell in love with embellishing her clothing and she was certainly the belle of the ball each Halloween. Admittedly, sewing pink satin still makes me cringe. While attending a Girl Scout Day Camp with my daughters Brownie troupe, I was befriended by a couple of ladies who were (and still are) fabulous art quilters. Jamie Fingal & Julie Schlueter took me to my first quilt guild meeting for Flying Geese Quilters of Irvine, CA. I was thrilled to discover that quilts could be art and that could be whatever the artist wanted; no rules, no patterns, just your materials and what you wanted to say.
• What inspires you?
I am inspired by the natural world. I love using organic images and adding the structured, manmade images of lettering in my designs. I am intrigued by the way the two elements offset and complement each other. What excites me the most is after I’ve combined two elements, added in beadwork, fancy threads, embroidery and /or found objects, a third element is created that was not intended or accounted for in the original design. Only in the process of making can there be room for the unexpected to happen!
• Please describe your work as a calligrapher and teaching.
I have a deep love of literature and yearned to create art that would incorporate the beauty of the stories, the elegance of the prose and the technical mastery of great wordsmiths such as Wilde, Joyce and GBS. The first ‘Challenge’ I entered was ‘Myths and Legends’. I knew just which story I wanted to illustrate. I started by using a fabric ink pad (from my rubber stamper days) and an idea for a quilt that would become ‘Children of Lir’ (which was on display last year at Long Beach Festival in the ‘Text on Textiles’ exhibit and was featured in their catalog. I learned by trial and error how words could be used as surface design. Twelve years later I am still using calligraphy in my work and now you can hardy go to a quilt show without tripping over quilts with words, letters and symbols on them. It’s a fabulous time to be an art quilt calligrapher!
When I teach my calligraphy class, I am constantly amazed by the students! Many are rather surprised to learn how dramatic and wonderful their own handwriting can be! It is such a freeing experience to take down that beloved scrap of material you’ve been saving forever and using it now to make something you never thought you could! I ask my students to bring favorite quotes or passages that really ping deep in their hearts. Taking those words they can focus on the feeling they want to create rather than worrying over letterform technique (which does come with practice!). I love teaching and look forward to doing much more of it.
I have a full time career in the insurance industry where I have been since 1989. My daughter and I share our home with our cats; I also am a foster home for Bengal Cat Rescue. I have had my art quilts shown (and purchased) across the country and internationally. I have had works published and do much commissioned work. I am always thrilled to meet new clients who have seen my work (or already have some) and create new things for them. New and challenging ideas are so exciting.
To see more of Stacy’s work please visit her Blog at: http://stacyhurt.blogspot.com/
Deborah Stanley: http://deborahstanleyinspirations.blogspot.com/