May SAQA Michigan Profile
How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts? I have an MFA in painting, printmaking and drawing, but though I taught some in the art area, I kept getting hired in Libraries. While getting my MLS I worked for the ALA (American Library Assn.) and the AHA (American Hospital Assn.) and ended up working for 20 years as a Medical Librarian while continuing to do artwork. It helps in this respect that my husband had rented out a large loft space and ran a gallery and rented out work spaces to artists. But someone in the family needed to provide the medical insurance for our family of 4. I saw my first art quilts out East at an exhibition of Japanese Art Quilts seventeen years ago and it opened up a new media to me. I had a lot to learn before feeling confident and joined the Illinois Quilter Inc. and enjoyed the monthly speakers for years. We are both now retired.
Describe your art & its inspirations I want to move the viewers eye and am often interested in having an irregular edge to the pieces I make. "Arroyo" is one of these pieces (see picture below). It was made while in our Arizona home which has a lot of ravines throughout the town. At times my art piece is inspired by the fabrics, and I feel very strongly that it is important to keep your fabrics around where they can be seen and not carefully stacked away. The piece Jane's Garden at Twilight (picture on Gwen's web site) was inspired by some fabric designed by Jane Sasseman that was given to me. The twilight part came from living in Michigan where we often walk down to Lake Michigan's shoreline to see the sun set over the Lake. I received a "special award" with $100. at the Senior Network Art Exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center's Renaissance Center in September and I received a second prize on this same piece at the Member's juried show at the Sedona Art Center in Sedona, AZ this March.
Where do you do most of your artwork? I work in my studio space, which in Arizona is in our guest bedroom. In Chicago, it has been in a large attic with a very high ceiling. Now I am moving to a 19' x 19' studio in Bridgman, MI, which is finally, nearly finished, with the exception of the ceiling lights and moving everything over from Chicago. It is a terrific space with nice window lights and I will not have to take the stairs to the attic. When I travel to Arizona, I take along fabrics and threads, but I have another machine, and cutting board there.
What are your goals? I want to exhibit more. This is a hard economy for art and there are a lot of "artists". I have studied the color, design of art and worked at the craft of fabric artwork for years now and finally I am seeing more fabric art accepted in fine art shows. I plan to keep exhibiting.
Do you teach, lecture, or have a business of your artwork? No
Where can your artwork be seen? I have work in Gallery 225 in Gilbert, AZ. I will have 3 pieces in the MAAC juried show coming up at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan which opens on June 10th. I was also part of "Art Attack" showing with 10 artists at the Burnison Gallery in Lakeside, MI.
You can see more of Gwen's work on her website: www.GwenJonesArt.com
33" x 51"