Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding the connections

I've been writing about my daily drawing adventures for a couple of weeks, and finished up that thread on Monday with the remark, "And now that I've brought you up to date, I promise to write about fiber art for a while, not drawing."

Then someone left a comment, "You say drawing and fiber art like they have no connection with each other."

So let me defend my remark.  First off, what are we talking about?  To me, "fiber art" means my serious work in quilting and other fiber formats; work that I would enter in shows or want to be in my career retrospective.  I think I'm pretty accomplished in these formats: I can often get into the good shows, maybe even win a prize, I can teach and write books about this line of work.

In addition to my serious fiber work, I always have some side projects going that don't rise to that level of importance or achievement.  Specifically, every year I do a daily art project, often chosen as a way to force myself to try something new and unfamiliar.  I did two years of daily photography and three years of daily collage.  In both cases my initial apprehension and inexperience gave way through practice to better technique, a better eye, a personal style, but I can't say that they had any influence on my fiber art, or vice versa.

For many people, of course, there's a big connection between drawing and fiber art.  Lots of fiber artists use drawing as an integral part of their serious work, such as these two examples from Quilt National '15, where the quilted line forms the image.

Paula Kovarik, Insomnia: His and Hers  (detail)

Brigitte Kopp, On Her Road To... (detail)

I don't think that's going to happen in my own work; I'm going down a very different road these days.  I admit that a few times in my daily drawing I've used curvy lines that greatly resemble a particular quilting style that I used to do a lot, but I didn't feel the patter of little feet migrating from one medium to the other.

That said, I know that it often takes a long time for the artist to recognize connections in her own work, perhaps not until an outside observer points them out.  I used to think that my "postage stamp" quilts and my standard-format quilts were two entirely different bodies of work, until somebody commented that they're both little bits held together by fragile bonds.  Head slap / of course!!!

Kathleen Loomis, Postage 2: Regatta (detail)

Kathleen Loomis, Crazed 8: Incarceration (detail)

I have also noticed commonalities among my different approaches, such as the way text keeps creeping in despite my alleged attempts to keep it out.  That certainly happened in my quilts, again during the three years of daily collage and it may be wanting to occur in my daily drawings.

And I also see a recurring theme between my "tangle" drawings and my 3-D knotted constructions, although the sketchbook knots are a whole lot looser than those in real life.  I guess they too are fragile bonds barely holding things together.

Kathleen Loomis, Infusions (detail)

So are there connections between drawing and fiber art?  At this point, for me, I would say not many.  But who knows what might develop -- or what I might come to recognize -- in the future.


  1. I would say there are always connections when it comes to art (visual, music, performance, written). Not necessarily direct and obvious, but there.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. Life if just one big linked chain.