Fiber Art: A Layered Conversation will be showing in the Featured Artist spot at The New Zone Gallery in Eugene, Oregon, for the month of December. Candace is thrilled to share her works amidst the gallery’s fine art offerings. A reception will be held during Eugene’s First Friday Artwalk on December 1, 2023, from 5:30-7:30 pm.
About the Show…
Fiber Art: A Layered Conversation
Making Muse-influenced Fiber Art is a playful adventure.
Fiber Art, as I practice it, is a layered conversation with my Muse. I use tools and techniques from fine art and textile practices on a layered foundation to create Art Quilts. I invite my Muse to influence the project on many levels. As I work, I take into account the suggestions that arise and I let go of the results. I don’t always get what I expect, but what I get is always perfect for the piece I’m working on. It’s a playful and adventurous experience.
The tools I use are unlike those of other artists because they’re mixed media without being mixed media. I’m solidly a fiber artist, but I borrow tools and techniques from other media. Traditional quilting, embroidery, spinning, and felting, for instance, all come from related textile practices. Paint, ink, drawing, and printing all come from related art practices. You’ll find all of those in my work…and you’ll find them used in many fiber artworks in general. Fiber artists own those tools just like we own the wide variety of fabrics at the foundation of our work.
Fiber Art, as I practice it, begins with layering fabrics much like one would when making a quilt. I could be called a Quilt Artist or Art Quilter. I don’t tend to use those terms because while Fiber Art has been a thing for ages and ages, it’s also rather new to the fine arts scene. When I tell the uninitiated I’m an Art Quilter, they immediately think I’m making blankets using traditional patchwork in a modern way. Art Quilter and Quilt Artist are somewhat misleading, so I say Fiber Artist instead.
My work begins with a layered structure that’s symbolic of the layers of life. The Ancestors who came before me inform my work as do The Folk who live with me and the Future Beings for whom we are creating this space now. I seek to include body in my work through the physicality of the piece, mind through the symbolism and message, and Spirit through the gestalt. Layers of meaning, of technique, of fiber, of influence go into even my smaller, more simple pieces. When you look at one of my pieces, you can find a variety of forces at play.
I work with a Muse…not so much in the traditional Greek sense of the word since Athena isn’t often in my neighborhood. Instead, I have a group of friends who often join me in the studio. Some of them are embodied and some are ephemeral. My best ideas have come from them, as have some of the most playful and beautiful results. I use processes that allow them to influence the results as directly as possible alongside those that come directly from me. The result is a conversation with Spirit.
One of the ways you can see that conversation in play is through the hand-dyed fabrics I use. Not all of my works are exclusively made with hand dyes; I use commercially printed and dyed fabrics in many of my works, too. They’re quickly becoming a lesser part of my work, though, because I’ve found dyeing opens the doors to a greater influence from my Muse. I like that a lot.
You’ll often find hints of landscapes and faces in the swirls of color on my hand-dyed works. And the colors don’t always stay where I put them, so you’ll see places where the boundaries blur in interesting ways. I take a lot of risks my peers don’t because I trust my Muse to guide the stuff I cannot control and I trust myself to figure out how to make anything I wasn’t expecting work beautifully.
As I work, I invite my Muse to join me. I use my dyes like a painter uses paints, mixing as I go. The thing with dyes is they’re a lot harder to control than paints. Unlike the painter, I won’t know how it looks until I wash the excess dye out of the piece. That makes it easier for my Muse to influence the results. As I work, I take into account the suggestions that arise and I let go of the results. I don’t always get what I expect, but what I get is always perfect for the piece I’m working on. It’s a playful and adventurous experience.