Featured Artist - June 2015 Judy B. Dales
I grew up in a country Inn in northern Vermont and each member of my family was expected to work, and to work hard. I learned at an early age how to relax into a tedious job, enjoying the rhythm of the task and keeping myself motivated until the job was completed. When I started making fiber art, this early training proved to be invaluable.
After a decade of piecing complex geometric designs based on straight lines and sharp angles, I discovered curves and the magic began. I developed a system that allows my curvilinear drawings to be pieced, i.e sewn together one piece to another, put together like a jigsaw puzzle. This process is slow and requires patience, but it ensures that the finished design in fabric is an exact replica of the original drawing.
Working with curves is challenging, but after each seam is stitched and pressed, the curved line emerges, smooth and graceful, and the deliciousness of that curve makes the entire effort worthwhile. This part of the process, although tedious at times, is very satisfying and can be almost meditative. It is rewarding, as I can see my original vision become a reality, one seam at a time.
It is, of course, the fabric choices that bring the design to life. I use mostly commercially produced printed cotton fabric, but occasionally also hand-dyed or painted fabric. I have always felt an affinity for fabric and after years of experience have learned how to control this fascinating medium. Printed fabric, so diverse, beautiful and unique, is not manipulated or altered like paint, but is combined purposefully with other fabrics to create the desired effect. There is a visual chemistry that happens between adjacent fabrics: sometimes they meld together, other times contrast and tension are created. Often a lot of different fabrics must be auditioned before the desired effect is achieved, but that is the challenge that continually draws me to this special medium.
It is both magical and humbling to create beauty from such simple materials: scissors, needle and thread applied to fabric, bringing to life my inner visions and fantasies. I strive to own the beauty I have experienced in life, to absorb it and then channel it back into my work. The grace and beauty of the curves merging with the richness of the fabric create a magic that never ceases to entice and enchant me.