Our October SAQA Michigan Profile is:
Marilyn M. Prucka
How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts? I’ve been drawing, painting, sewing and making fiber things ever since I can remember. My paternal grandmother was a tremendous influence. She made and did about everything. My grandfather only had to mow lawn. I can still hear the clickety-clack of her treadle sewing machine. I’ve always had the notion that ‘hey, I think I can make that.’ Under the direction of my mother I started using a sewing machine when I was 14. I started formal quilting classes in 1998 and making art quilts in 2002 while in graduate school. In 2001, I was studying printmaking and by chance took a dye and fibers class as an elective. I fell in love with the possibilities of fibers as an art medium. I now have an MFA in Textiles from Eastern Michigan University, 2005.
Describe your art and its inspiration. My work is abstract expressionist. I love to dye and do any kind of surface design technique. I’m particularly interested in texture both real and implied. For many years Monroe’s River Raisin and its surrounding landscape has been the seed for my art. I’m fascinated by the colors of fleeting light whether early morning or late day. Where do you do most of your artwork? A year ago I found a unique little house along the river and have since converted it into a fiber studio. I weave as well and between my sewing tools, looms and related paraphernalia I had really crowded my family. It took me 23 years to get through art school. I have a lot of supplies! The only thing about a studio away from home is that now I have to set a timer to remind myself to go home. I have two etching presses but those are at home in the basement. I still do print sessions a few weeks a year.
What are your goals? The first and already in motion is to spend more time in studio. So, I’m cutting back on being active in local fiberart groups. The second is to finally get my website going. I took a couple website classes from Ypsilanti artist, Dee Overly, last fall. I want to be able to make my own site and maintain it. I’m considering taking more web classes at my local community college. The next is to apply for exhibition venues outside of the state of Michigan and to find a gallery to represent me.
Do you teach, lecture, curate or have a business of your artwork? Yes to all of the above. I’ve been a guest lecturer at Wayne State University, Adrian College and Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. I’ve taught workshops in indigo, textile paints, chemical resist, potato and corn dextrin, collagraph printmaking and polymer clay. I’ve coordinated several local fine art and fiber exhibitions mostly as an officer of various groups. That started in graduate school. I find that it gives one confidence and a good idea of organization. It’s also a great way to meet all kinds of artists and patrons. My art has been a part-time business for a long time. With graduation 5 years ago and the new studio it’s now fulltime.
Where can your work be seen? I try to schedule at least one solo show every year. Plymouth Community Arts Council in Plymouth, MI, the latest was September 1-30, 2010. “Confluence” Of 18 quilts on display, I had 8 new little quilts from a series I called River meets Land. It reflects the area around my new studio. I’ll have two quilts in a show sponsored by the River Gallery of Chelsea, MI, and curator assisted by Ann Arbor fiber artist, Susan Moran. The show “From Tradition to Innovation” will be September 27 – December 6, 2010 at the University of Michigan, Rackham Building. I enter several local competitions a year. I recently had a quilt that won an honorable mention at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center’s Michigan Fine Arts Competition. I think it’s important to enter general fine arts competitions. I’ve gotten into the Toledo Museum of Art’s, Toledo Area Artists several times as well, with a quilt and prints.
What are your interests outside of art? 1st, is my family: Bob, my hubby of 40 years, and I now have grandchildren. We are blessed with one grand baby from each of our three sons and their spouses. 2nd, I always have something crafty that I’m working on. I learned to spin 2 ½ years ago and so now I’m incorporating that into my crochet, knitting and weaving. And of course I love to dye those fibers. I like to collect old crochet patterns, especially anything baby or doily or thread crochet related and older than 1950. My weaving is getting more intense. I’m in my 5th year of membership in Cross Border Weavers, a weave study group, with members from across southern Michigan and two in Ontario, Canada. I’ve met some fabulous artisans and made grand friends through my various fiber group affiliations. That dye and fiber class in 2001 and the late EMU professor Pat Williams, opened the doors to something really exciting.
Technique: the cloth is a linen-like heavy textured cotton, the piece uses textile paints for the shibori work. there's devore to 'cut' out holes and pieces for rough-edge applique' the 'bugs' are hand-dyed rayon, hand embroidery -- that rya rug influence of fields, reeds and bug wings. 56" x 42" machine quilted, whole cloth with machine rough-edge applique.
60" x 45"
Technique: From the River Mudflats Series: originally black Kona cotton. Heavily discharged shibori work, over dyed with indigo and walnut hull dye, hulls gathered from the river’s edge. Devore’ reveals walnut dyed cotton batting. The binding was left off to reveal the walnut dyed batting on the edges as well. Machine quilted, appliqué’. I was inspired by the islands revealed by a period of little rainfall. I imagined the mud scoured and marred by the spring ice break-up. **There’s a detail picture in the lower right hand corner.
14” x 14”
Technique: Background is textile paint on white Kona cotton, the binding is a black and white commercial fabric that I stained with textile paints. The yoyos are white cotton with textile paints. The ‘foliage’ and French knot ‘water spots’ is hand embroidery, hand dyed 5/2 rayon. Machine quilted. I was inspired the by the order of the fields across the road from the studio, seed heads and flower colors. They reflect into the sky lit waters. I see rya rugs (A rya is a traditional Scandinavian rug) everywhere in the fields and reeds in the river. It’s my new inspiration for this coming year.
This is one of Marilyn's 'inspiration' pictures! Images from the river and land – rya rug influence.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Marilyn and make sure to look for her work at exhibits in and out of state. Marilyn is in the process of getting her website up and running, until that time you can reach her at:
Fine Arts and Design Studio
8923 North Custer Road
Monroe, MI 48162
Studio Phone: 734-868-0013