Late this summer I got to see the Bluegrass Biennial, a juried all-mediums show of Kentucky artists, which had a handsome complement of fiber art and also some striking encaustic work. One encaustic piece was made by an artist whom I know through fiber art circles, and I realized that I know at least a half dozen people who work in both those mediums. That got me thinking about whether there's a special affinity between encaustic and fiber art, so I asked three of my friends to tell a bit about their experiences in the two mediums.
I'll start with Terry Jarrard-Diamond, who is probably best known in fiber art circles for her large pieced quilts (she won best in show at Form, Not Function a few years ago and served as a juror for Quilts=Art=Quilts this year). In recent years she has been doing a lot of work in painting and encaustic.
Q. How long have you been doing fiber art / how long have you been doing encaustic?
I have been working with fiber for perhaps 16 years and began exploring encaustic about 5 years ago. I had been aware of the medium for years but more in connection with sculpture than painting but when I began blogging I became aware of the work being done in this medium.
Q. Did you feel that encaustic was a natural progression from your fiber work, or a totally new thing?
The step into encaustic painting was not a progression but rather a lateral move. I had wanted to paint for several years and as I read about this medium the desire to try it developed. Much like fabric and sewing, there is a significant technical learning curve with encaustic. Easy to apply encaustic paint. Not easy to make the work look professional and resolved.
Q. Do you think encaustic has an affinity with fiber? and if so, why/how?
The only connection I can see is perhaps the versatility of both of these mediums. I do think encaustic painting has been and still is an "It" medium meaning that it has come into the awareness of the art-making community and has attracted many new users.
There is often a direct relationship to the final look of some of my painting to pieced fabric work done several years ago. This is due to how I see space and organize shapes in relation to a space and each other.
Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Quietly Red, fiber
More fiber/encaustic artists next week...