Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fiber art and encaustic 2 -- Shelley Baird

Shelley Baird is an artist primarily known for her enigmatic silkscreened designs, enhanced by dense machine quilting.  She has had work in several Quilt Nationals and other prominent art/quilt venues, and took up encaustic a few years ago.

Sometimes she uses her screenprinted fabric as the first layer in an encaustic painting, as in this piece:

Sometimes she re-uses a favorite screen in both fiber and encaustic.

Shelley Brenner Baird, Blue Cypher, fiber/quilt (detail)

Shelley Brenner Baird, encaustic

Q.  How long have you been doing fiber art / how long have you been doing encaustic?

I have been using fiber as a substrate for my work for about 15 years.  I come from an eclectic art background that involved painting and drawing, then a degree in printmaking and another degree in photography followed by work in graphic design and illustration.  I have always made art and fell into fiber/textiles/art quilts/surface design by serendipity, seeking out teachers and mentors.  Once I discovered the many options in surface design I began to develop a body of work that includes a variety of media.

Living in central Ohio with QSDS and Nancy Crow's barn very close to home has enabled me to work with people from all over, including instructors and participants, so the textile community has been very accessible and varied.

Q.  Did you feel that encaustic was a natural progression from your fiber work, or a totally new thing?

When I start any kind of work I just begin with a blank sheet (panel, paper, fabric or an actual sheet sometimes) and approach it just as I have always worked in any medium.  I don't categorize myself as any particular process person so encaustic is just another way to use my ideas.  Fiber can be easily used in encaustic and the transformation from the wax and paint and incising can be another way to look at one's work.  Since I do make all of my fabric with screens and painting I don't see much of a distinction.

I enjoy a break from the tedium (oops, should I admit that?) of stitching.  The ability to work more quickly and move on to the next thing something I appreciate.  Working smaller also enables me to work through more ideas.  I suppose a lot of this is really not about encaustic per se.  So some the things I like about encaustic involve the ability to scrape and incise and melt and remove.

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