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Artist Statement

I think of myself as an ‘accidental’ artist.  I have no formal training in the arts, but, thanks to the interest in the arts my parents shared with me, art has always been an important aspect of my life.  I taught myself to sew in my teens, which began my love affair with sewing garments and decorating my home.  For a number of years I also pursued a serious interest in collecting and restoring vintage sewing machines.  I was a late comer to the quilt revolution in the nineties, and still a hobbyist when, in 2006, a friend dragged me, kicking and screaming, to participate in a postcard challenge on the internet.  One postcard using art techniques combined with stitching and quilting and I was hooked!  I continued to experiment and learned to ‘play’ again, like a child, taking risks, experimenting with various artistic techniques and joining the Studio Art Quilt Associates.  No longer a hobby quilter, I gave myself permission to be an ‘artist’ and began serious work in my ‘studio.’  I had found my raison d’etre, creative fulfillment through the exciting new art quilt medium. 

All fiber entrances me….commercial fabrics, yarns, unbleached muslin, sumptuous silk, heavily bodied wool felt, my own hand-dyed and discharge dyed cottons.  The ultimate joy comes with manipulating, tearing, burning, arranging, stitching, layering, stamping, painting and embellishing the fabric and fibers.  The joy is in the process, the dialogue, the tangible evidence of creating an object that others find beautiful, meaningful, poignant or funny. 

My work also seems to evolve as a progression of serendipitous ‘accidents.’  Once inspired by a phrase, an event, a feeling, a favorite view, I let my mind run rampant.  I’m often surprised where my work, or my play, ends.  The one constant that seems to run through my work is the need to make a statement, or send a message.  The topic could be serious or complex, such as the consequences of war expressed in my work THE SPOILS OF WAR, or contemplating the age old feminine dilemma of whether or not blondes do, indeed, have more fun, as in REEL TIME – MONA’S PARTY.

THE PROCESS is paramount, it is where I derive personal satisfaction from expressing myself creatively.  The thoughts, the mental and visual associations, working with tactile fibers and experiencing the FEEL of the medium, the endless challenges and decisions along the way, allowing one work to suggest the next in a natural progression…..these are the components of my process and the reasons I am an obsessive artist.  I have composed a poem which describes my process more succinctly.  
 
Words, ideas, phrases
Twists and turns.
Note similarities, devise opposites, 
Think order, chaos, symmetry, random.
 
Whispers, grunts, moans, yawns, chuckles –
Conversations with fiber and thread. 
Perhaps yarn, wire, paper, paint, ink, findings –
Endless possibilities for uncharted explorations
Of color, shape, line, words, ideas, love. 
 
Driven  by the challenge, 
By the fun of it,
For the meaning in it,
By doing it.
 
Find the end, commit the work to posterity with stitch…
To send a message,
Make myself heard, 
Elicit a laugh, a nod, a knowing.            
                                                                                                        d.j.bein -2016