Featured Artists

Interviews Archive Page

115  Carmella Karijo Rother

114  C. Pazia Mannella

113  Karen Goetzinger

112  Andrew MacDonald

111  Jeanne Williamson

110  Catherine Heard

109  Rosemary Hoffenberg

108  Cathy Breslaw

107  Leslie Pontz

106  Cas Holmes

105  Geri deGruy

104  Suzanne Morlock

103  Barbara De Pirro

102  Kathryn Clark

101  Noelle Hamlyn

100  Judith Mullen

99  Barbara J. Schneider

98  Merill Comeau

97  Beverly Ayling-Smith

96  Barbara Hilts

95  Mackenzie Kelly-Frère

94  Anna Keck

93  Pilar Sans Coover

92  Dolores_Slowinski

91  Leslie Pearson

90  Temma Gentles

89  Tilleke Schwarz

88  Anna Torma

87  Kim Stanford

86  Ingrid Lincoln

85  Anna Hergert

84  Joy Walker

83  Maximo Laura

82  Marie Bergstedt

81  Alice Vander Vennen

80  Xia Gao

79  Leisa Rich

78  Megan Q. Bostic

77  Sayward Johnson

76  Heather Komus

75  Sheila Thompson

74  Kerstin Benier

73  Molly Grundy

72  Nathan Johns

71  Lorena Santin Andrade

70  Lisa DiQuinzio

69  Nancy Yule

68  Jenine Shereos

67  Bovey Lee

66  Nell Burns

65  Lancelot Coar

64  Elisabetta Balasso

63  Matthew Cox

62  Yulia Brodskaya

61  Lotta Helleberg

60  Kit Vincent

59  Barbara Heller

58  Catherine Dormor

57  Joyce Seagram

56  Yael Brotman

55  David Hanauer

54  Dwayne_Wanner

53  Pat Hertzberg

52  Chris Motley

51  Mary Catherine Newcomb

50  Cybèle Young

49  Vessna Perunovich

48  Fuyuko Matsubara

47  Jodi Colella

46  Anastasia Azure

45  Marjolein Dallinga

44  Libby Hague

43  Rita Dijkstra

42  Leanne Shea Rhem

41 Lizz Aston

40  Sandra Gregson

39  Kai Chan

38  Edith Meusnier

37  Lindy Pole

36  Melanie Chikofsky

35  Laurie Lemelin

34  Emily Jan

33  Elisabeth Picard

32  Liz Pead

31  Milena Radeva

30  Rochelle Rubinstein

29  Martha Cole

28  Susan Strachan Johnson

27  Karen Maru

26  Bettina Matzkuhn

25  Valerie Knapp

24  Xiaoging Yan

23  Hilary Rice

22  Birgitta Hallberg

21  Judy Martin

20  Gordana Brelih

19  Mary Karavos

18  Rasma Noreikyte

17  Judith Tinkl

16  Joanne Young

15  Allyn Cantor

14  Pat Burns-Wendland

13  Barbara Wisnoski

12  Robert Davidovitz

11  Amy Bagshaw

10  Jesse Harrod

9  Emma Nishimura

8  June J. Jacobs

7  Dagmar Kovar

6  Ixchel Suarez

5  Cynthia Jackson

4  Lorraine Roy

3  Christine Mockett

2  Amanda McCavour

1  Ulrikka Mokdad

 

The Fence As Lace #7, 48" x 103" before wrapped around a column, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric. Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson

 

Fence/Curtain 1.0, Temporary site specific art installation in Cambridge, MA, USA, 35' long x 48" high (plus the draped fabric), attached to a 6' chain link fence. 100% cotton, paint, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Will Howcroft

     

Artist: Jeanne Williamson of Natick, Massachusetts, USA

Interview 111

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.

 

Biography

Jeanne Williamson's work can be seen in galleries and museums, and in many books and magazines. A print of her work is also available at Crate & Barrel stores. She has a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), where she majored in Fibers/Crafts. In addition to being trained as an artist, Jeanne has an MSAEd in Art Education from Massachusetts College of Art. In addition to creating artwork, Jeanne is a web designer and author of a new how-to book, Uncommon Cards (Running Press, 2013), and The Uncommon Quilter (Potter Craft/Random House, 2007). She also writes a blog. Jeanne is represented by the Gravers Lane Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the deCordova Museum of Art Corporate Art Loan Program in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Jeanne lives in Natick, Massachusetts, USA with her husband. Jeanne's website.

 

Artist: Jeanne Williamson.

 

Tell us about your work?

My artwork is a combination of printmaking, painting, collage, and sometimes stitching, on fabric. Most of the time, I mount the mixed media fabric on the boards. When I do this, they look like paintings and not at all like fabric. I also create wall pieces and installations with single pieces of mono-printed, painted and stitched fabric. I stiffen the fabric so it appears more like paper. Because both sides of the fabric look quite different from each other, they can be exhibited as installations or on the wall, and can be seen from either side. The size of my work varies from as small as 6-inch paintings to all the way up to 35-foot outdoor installations. I really enjoy creating work that is small to extremely large, and the challenges that come with working in different formats.

 

Fence/Curtain 2.0, 24' long x 48" high Temporary public art installation in Boston, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Will Howcroft.

Jeanne Williamson: Art Quilts exhibit, Danforth Art Museum, Framinhgam, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, machine quilted, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

 

What do you to weatherproof your work?

The coating on the fabric that stiffens it also weatherproofs it, so I can exhibit work out of doors. Some of my work has been exhibited outside for a few years and they are doing quite well after having full sun exposure, and also after being rained and snowed on.

 

Off the Fence exhibit, Hunt Cavanagh Gallery, Providence College, Providence, RI, USA, 100% cotton. Paint, thread, 100% cotton batting, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, machine quilted, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

 

When working on site with your installations how much do you improvise?

It's hard to improvise the art installations I work on because I've always had to submit a proposal that needs to be approved before installing. I've learned to work out the design and installation details ahead of time, including how to make my work hard to steal when out of doors. Security is almost always an issue.

 

Off the Fence exhibit, Hunt Cavanagh Gallery, Providence College, Providence, RI, USA, 100% cotton. Paint, thread, 100% cotton batting, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, machine quilted, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

 

Are there any historic artists who have influenced your work? 

I look at a lot of art in museums, galleries, and online, and the artist that has influenced my work the most, more than any other artists, is Chuck Close. He's not exactly a historic artist, seeing that he's very much alive and working in New York, but his name is the first that comes to mind. I am drawn to his commitment to working within the same subject matter, portraits, throughout his career, how he's adapted his work and style to his physical limitations over time, how he works with grids, and also because he also many times works in a series.

I don't remember exactly when I saw his show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, maybe it was ten years ago? At the time, I was questioning my decision to create work in series, and wondering if it was worth doing. When I saw many series of prints he created of the same subjects, I knew immediately that I wanted to continuing working in series. I love that his series of prints use the same person's image repeatedly, but change the pattern or line, or colour.

 

Fence Holes Squared #1-12, 12 x 12" x 1" each, Exponential: Four Artists Explore Infinity exhibit, The Gallery at Mount Ida College, Newton, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, wood, Monoprinted fabric and handpainted on cradled boards, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson

 

How does your early work differ from what you're doing now?

My work, while looking similar to earlier work, is very different. I was quilting my mono-printed fabric until I stopped doing that about four years ago. Now I'm mounting the fabric on boards or stiffening it to make it look more paper-like. I am having much more fun, and I've had many more interesting opportunities now that I'm not quilting.

 

Weathered Fences Series, #1 - 3, approx 48 x 35" each, Contemporary Work in Fiber exhibit, University of Mary Washington Galleries, Fredericksburg, VA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson

 

A lot of your work seems to have a 'grid' system to it, talk to us about that.

I've been printing on fabric since I graduated from art school in the late 1970s. I've almost always used the grid as the basis of my work. Over the years my work has grown from rigid hand stamped grids of over 1000 stamped rubber eraser shapes on fabric which I'd quilt, to mono-printing recycled objects (including construction fences) and stamping on fabric that I also quilted. Now I'm mono-printing the grids and textures of construction fences on fabric, I sew and I collage, and sometimes I work outside of the grid, and I do not quilt any more.

 

The Constructed Surface exhibit, Krause Gallery, Mose Brown School, Providence, RI, USA, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric and/or mounted on cradled boards, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

 

How did you come to using fencing for your artwork?

I am very interested in working with the different grid patterns of construction fences. In 2002, I started seeing different patterns, shapes and sizes of orange construction fences as they were being used at many construction sites as a barrier to keep people out of danger, by blocking off the site. I think in grids, and because of that, I fell in love with the fences immediately. I began mono-printing their textures and patterns.

 

Walls from Fences Series #1, 46 x 24", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

 

Since you first started using fencing, how has your art progressed? 

After watching the fences out in their element over time, I noticed that on hot days they can get limp and sag, and on cold days they sometimes crack and break. At times my use of the printed fence follows the grid, and at other times I like to break it apart, the same as can happen in the life of an actual construction fence. I have been collecting different kinds of fences for many years, and have at least eighteen or more patterns in my collection, ranging in length from one yard to 50 yards long. Many people know about my love of construction fences, and it's not unusual for a friend to bring me a fence piece back from their vacation, or email pictures of them. Even though I have been working with construction fences for almost ten years, I have many ideas and inspiration as my work grows. I plan on continuing to use them, and seeing where it leads me in the future.

 

Wrapped tree behind Fence/Curtain 2.0, 120 long x 48" high, Temporary public art installation in Boston, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Will Howcroft.

 

What project has given you the most satisfaction and why?

The outdoor installation I created and installed in a garden in the plaza in front of the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, Massachusetts was the most satisfying project I've worked on to date. It was like working with a blank slate, in terms of the art I could create. I worked with and around the garden plantings and trees, and made what I think was a very humanized art installation that people could walk around and through, and also touch, 24/7. I loved the whole experience and hope I can do something like that again.

 

The Fence As Lace #3, 69.5 x 48", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Joe Ofria

 

Are there any contemporary artists who have influenced your work?  

Of all the artists whose work I see in galleries, museum and online, the one contemporary artist who has influenced my work the most is Dorothy Caldwell from Hastings, Ontario.

 

In what way has Dorothy Caldwell's work had an impact on you?  

I love her use of black and white, and colour, on fabric. I'm envious of how she uses line, pattern, design and texture that is perfectly balanced and placed in small pieces and extremely large work. When I see her work, especially in person, I just want to look at it, for as long as I can, so I can absorb it's wonderfulness. And, on top of everything, she's such a nice person!

 

The Fence As Lace #9, 48 x 44", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Joe Ofria.

 

How do you describe your art to people?

When I describe my work to others, I tell people that I print the textures of the construction fences they see around construction sites, on fabric and that I also paint and stitch, and I mount the fabric on boards, which are like canvases but made of wood, to create paintings that hang on the wall. I also tell them that I sometimes coat the fabric to make it weatherproof so I can use it in outdoor art installations.

 

The Fence As Lace #7, 48 x 103" before wrapped around a column, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

The Fence As Lace #7, 48 x 103" before wrapped around a column, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

 

What bridges the works that you have created in differing media?

My work is a combination of printmaking, painting, stitching, and collage, which makes me a mixed media artist as well as a fibre artist.

 

How did you initially start showing your work in galleries?

I began by entering gallery shows that were looking for the medium and style I work in. It was mostly art quilt and fibre shows in the beginning of my career. Now I rarely enter shows, except for a few with a catalogue, prize money or high foot traffic. Most of the shows I'm in now are invitational or are curated.

 

The Fence As Lace #5, 49 x 104", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Joe Ofria

 

What other fibre artists are you interested in?

I am a member of a group of women artists in the Boston area, in Massachusetts in the USA, who meet monthly to discuss our art careers. We call ourselves an art coaching group, and I've been meeting with them for at least four years or so. In our group of ten artists, these five have influenced my work and/or inspiration the most.

Merill Comeau, my friend and art studio-mate, uses discarded fabrics, collage, and different printmaking and painting techniques to create small and large scale wall art and installations. I tend to work with grids and straight lines most of the time, and I'm in awe about how organic her work is, and her use of colour and pattern.

Jodi Colella works with many different fibres and techniques, creating wall art, sculpture and installations using knitting, crochet, wrapping, encaustic, felting and more. She has more energy than almost anyone I know, and it's exciting to watch her work grow and change over time.

 

The Fence As Lace #6, 72 x 73", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Joe Ofria.

The Fence As Lace #2, 60 x 48", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Joe Ofria.

 

Catherine Evans came to art later in life, and it's exciting to see how she takes materials such as gimp and cable ties, as an example, and uses them to create art on the wall, as well as outdoor art.

Adria Arch is a painter, not a fibre artist, but she uses many of the same painting techniques I use (plus more), on paper and canvas, so I include her in this list. We've known each other for 25+ years, and I'm inspired by how she uses her son's doodles from his high school note books in her work, and how her work has grown over the years while she explores the same theme. It's influenced me a lot, and she's taught me a lot too.

Kathleen Volp is a painter and sculptor who uses fabric in a lot of her work, as well as zippers and found objects. A few years ago we both bought over a hundred zippers from a friend of mine, and while I try to think of what I might want to do with mine, she's made a number of wall pieces with them that are so natural and inspirational, that I wish I had thought of it first.

 

The Fence As Lace #1, 66 x 48", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Joe Ofria

 

Apart from you artwork, you are the author of two books, talk to us about that:

My first book, The Uncommon Quilter was a how-to craft book based on my project of making a small quilt-a-week for seven years. During that time, I created 365 small quilts. I took 52 of the best quilts and wrote a book that I wanted to be inspirational for anyone interested in journaling, quilting and/or using recycled and unusual objects. I also wanted to write The Uncommon Quilter because the process of making all of those quilts over all of those years was an incredible growth experience for me, and I wanted to inspire others.

My new how-to book, Uncommon Cards is about making greeting cards with unusual materials and techniques. It's similar to The Uncommon Quilter. I enjoy making my own cards and I hope a larger audience, including people who like collage, printmaking, sewing, or making things in general, will find it inspirational.

I enjoyed writing both books. I learned a lot! My writing improved, I learned some things about publishing, though it's changed since the US economy has changed over the years.

 

Fractured Fence Repaired #6, 43 x 38", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson.

Fractured Fence Repaired #2, 47 x 37", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson

 

Fractured Fence Repaired #1, 46 x 39", 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson

Tell us about your studio and how you work:

I have two studios. One space I share with artist Merill Comeau. It's a 15-mile drive from my home, and it takes a minimum of 30 minutes to drive to. Our studio is in an older building that used to be a junior high school. Our space has really tall ceilings and windows, and beautiful woodwork. We divided the room in half and we both have a little more than 300 square feet each. In the studio, I have two 8' x 48" tables I can print on. They're waist high so I can stand reasonably straight, and not have to bend and put stress on my back. These two tables allow me to work on fabric that's as long as 16' if I'd like to, but never any wider than 48".

My other studio is a small space in my home that's less than 100 square feet. I can work there any time, day or night, dressed or in my pajamas, and I make small work if I can't get to my big studio for any reason. My worktable is small, so I can only make small work at home.

While I'd like to work in the big studio every day, I usually get there one or two days a week. I spend a lot of time marketing my work, and spend at least half of my time doing that, at home, in front of my computer.

My way of working is sort of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), though I don't have ADD. I bounce around from art making, to working on my computer or iPad, to reading, to doing volunteer work in my community. Doing all of that gives me time to work out ideas in my mind, and it also gives the paint time to dry.

 

Studio Shot.

Process Shot. Wings.

Studio Shot.

 

 

What interests you about the World of Threads festival?

I love having the opportunity to learn about fibre artists who use different techniques and have a different focus, and who live in different parts of the world. Thank you so much for all that you do to put it together!

 

Fence/Curtain 2.0 and wrapped tree (rear view), 24' long x 48" high, 120" long x 48" high - wrapped tree, Temporary public art installation in Boston, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, thread, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Jeanne Williamson

 

Is there something else you would like us to know about you or your work that we have not covered?

In addition to everything else I do, I also license the images of a number of my pieces for retail and hospitality. My painting Seasonal Fences – Spring #3 is now available at Crate & Barrel in the US as a print entitled Seasonal Fence Print. I like finding ways to make my work accessible to as many people as possible, and licensing my work is one way to do that.

 

Fence/Curtain 1.0 (detail), Temporary site specific art installation in Cambridge, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Will Howcroft.

Fence/Curtain 1.0 (detail), Temporary site specific art installation in Cambridge, MA, USA, 100% cotton, paint, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Will Howcroft.

Fence/Curtain 1.0, Temporary site specific art installation in Cambridge, MA, USA, 35' long x 48" high (plus the draped fabric), attached to a 6' chain link fence, 100% cotton, paint, Monoprinted, handstamped, handpainted, stitched, cut stiffened fabric, Photo credit: Will Howcroft.

 

Do you have any upcoming shows?

Artist-in-Residence, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA, through April 11, 2014. Working on site at the Kniznick Gallery.

Under Color (solo show), Kniznick Gallery, Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA, April 14 - May 22, 2014.

What a Stitch, Gravers Lane Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, USA, through April 20, 2014

Materiality, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY, USA, through April 26, 2014

8x8 All-Members' Group Show, Fountain Street Fine Art, Framingham, MA, USA, through April 27, 2014.

Outdoor art installation, Jackson Homestead, Newton, MA, USA, through July 12, 201

Two-person show with painter Denise Driscoll at Fountain Street Fine Art, Framingham, MA, USA, October 2015

 

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.

 

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