Linda Anderson – La Mesa, California, USA
I like to tell a story with my art quilts. The images I choose are like a momentary snapshot that makes one wonder “what happened just before this moment” and “what will happen next”. It is the combination of high drama and gentle delicacy I try to create using raw edge machine appliqué.
Cottons are ideal for my work, as I hand paint washes of color to create areas of value change for the specific need. I love the process of drawing—the use of line, shapes, movement, detail and texture. I plan my quilts completely by creating a full color drawing of my vision, and then I enlarge it to the desired finished size to use as a template. Using multiple layers of batting in different areas adds additional depth. Colored pencils may also be used for subtle transitions within fabric shapes.
Life is full of contradictions and juxtapositions, whether socially, politically, psychologically, emotionally or within nature. I like to find that snapshot moment that highlights that duality.
SAQA: When did you begin making art with fabric? Do you work in other media as well?ANDERSON: I began making art with fabric in 2009, having seen my first art quilt at the end of 2008 upon return from living in the Caribbean after 10 years. I also draw with colored pencils, specifically in that I create a complete finished drawing of what I want the finished art quilt to look like. I’m one of those artists that needs to know where I’m going. I will spend many days on the drawing process and love doing it as much as when I then turn it into fabric.
SAQA: What inspires you?
ANDERSON: I’m inspired by peoples of different cultures and their unique story. Everyone has a story, and I enjoy finding a way to lift out the essence of it and tell it visually. I usually work from photographs, and I look for very strong overall artistic composition elements.
SAQA: Have any artists or art movements influenced your work?
ANDERSON: The surrealists have a special place in my heart, such as M. C. Escher and Salvador Dali, as well as the early classical work of Picasso.
SAQA: What techniques and materials do you use?
ANDERSON: I use cottons exclusively and have learned to paint every square inch of my work using Jacquard Textile paints in layers and layers of water washes. I mostly use white on white fabric, and with the washes, the underlying white designs become a subtle element to contrast with the stronger value areas usually present in my work. All my pieces are raw edge applique and machine stitched.SAQA: Where do you create?
ANDERSON: I create in a very small space! It is an extra bedroom that used to be my husband’s office. And it’s still his office, but now I have about 3/4 of it! I have a 4′ by 6′ work table that my machine is on and everything gets done on that table. Painting, sewing, cutting…you name it.
SAQA: How do you reconcile the art-making and business sides of your creative life?
ANDERSON: I work at my art 6 days a week, at least 6-8 hours a day minimally. That gives me time to also respond to any business inquiries, submissions, and other details that always seem to crop up unexpected. But I’m quick to get back to work.
ANDERSON: Right now I’m working on a submission piece for Dinner @ Eight artists. I’m just beginning the drawing phase and am wondering if I bit off more than I can chew with my concept. That’s not an uncommon feeling at the front end. Then when I do finish the drawing to my liking, the next question that always comes next is: How in the heck am I going to put this together in fabric?!?!? Bit by bit, working with the finished visual in front of me, it happens. I have a few other pieces in the queue this year with deadlines, so I’m never without my next piece.
SAQA: What are you working on now? What’s next?
What’s next? Having begun this career at a late age, all I can imagine doing is creating and growing with each piece I do. I remember when I saw that first art quilt in 2008. The voice in my head blared, “This is what you’re supposed to do with the rest of your life!” And that’s what I’m doing, every day, with more fun and joy than I should be allowed to have.
View more of Linda Anderson’s work on her website.