I have admired Linda’s art from the first time I saw it several years ago. Go to her website and you will be mesmerized. Some of the adjectives that I would use to describe Linda’s work are: unique, interesting, inviting, calming, mysterious…..and wonderful. I always want to view it again and always see something else in the piece. Her work resonates with me.
Personally, one my most favorite surface design processes is deconstructed screen printing. Linda has two recent articles in Quilting Arts Magazine: Deconstructed Rubbings (Issue 39, June/July) and Deconstructed Engravings (Issue 40, August, September).
Linda’s website has a wonderful gallery of her work. Stop by for inspiration and thoughtfulness. Here are some examples of Linda's art work. It was very, very difficult deciding which pieces to use on our blog.......they are all incredible. Please view them all at her gallery.
Here are a few examples of Linda's art work. It was "very" difficult deciding what pieces to added to this interview...I wanted to add all of them!
H27 x W16 inches (68 x 40cm)
H64 x W76 inches (162 x 191cm)
H38 x W33inches (96 x 83cm)
H40 x W40 inches (100 x 100cm)
Rage & Outrage
H45 x W48 inches (114 x 122cm)
Where do you find inspiration for your work? Your images are very interesting and intriguing. They draw me into the piece.I find inspiration just about everywhere. Some examples of images I’ve just been working with as I worked six weeks dyeing fabrics for the next year’s artwork: the shards of a broken plate I found in a field; a graceful number 5 from an elegant doorway in The Hague; a tall, distinguished gentleman quietly observing the comings and goings of Aachen’s city flower market; the oculus of an open dome in Split made into a rustic circle in Photoshop; and a flea market postcard written to a British World War I soldier in Belgium.
I am a collector. I fill my notebooks with drawn and written observations on all kinds of subjects, just as I fill folders on my computer with images of various categories of “stuff.” I believe that being lifted out of familiar surroundings and finding myself in one very different place after another has sharpened my powers of observation. I have lived on both coasts of America, Asia and now Europe. I notice people and things that perhaps others don’t see.
I am happy that you say my imagery draws you in my artwork because that drawing in is one of the goals I have for my work: I want viewers to see the story I present, but also to find their own stories and meaning for the characters I present.
How has living in Belgium influenced your designs and work?
The first time I was asked about Belgium’s influence on my work I answered without hesitation that “Belgium is a very gray place.” It seemed such an obvious reply and I didn’t elaborate at the time, but I have since thought back on my answer often. I realize that it is more than just an influence on the colors (or minimal colors) I use in my work. I find a softness in the slanting, silvery northern light here that is a look I consciously work to achieve in my art. That same light, while it strips away color, creates a starkness created by deep shadows and dramatic highlights. I reflect that in my work by using (and reveling in) the full range of value from black to white. The gray is also a mood—an enveloping coolness like fog, the weather that I find at the same time comforting and mysterious.
How do you begin creating a piece?
I take lots of photos. I write and draw in my notebooks and think during my “away from work” times, developing stories and characters. Then, when themes or stories begin to take form, I start sifting images on the computer and working with them in Photoshop to create the images from which I make screens, transfer or print directly on fabric. As a personality takes shape and a story forms around that character, I add images that connect to and further the narrative.
What are your work processes with your fabric?
I begin with plain white or black fabric. I create fabrics with dye, printing, painting or discharge. Because of Belgium’s short summers, I do all the dyework for a year in a few weeks when weather is warm. The rest of the year, I work with acrylic paints on cloth, do the computer work, including direct printing of some images on fabric; and design and stitch the artworks.
What part of the process do you enjoy the most? Do you have any favorite techniques?
I’d have to say that two parts of the process are most enjoyable: the computer design work and surface design. I often spend hours and hours working with a single image on the computer. The surface design work with dyes, paints and discharge agents is extremely satisfying. After abandoning screen printing in college because, at the time, the chemicals used were kind of nasty and the process fiddly—I preferred freer techniques, like painting. But with acrylics came simplicity, and screen printing could be more improvisational. I can make very detailed, unique screens with my thermal imager.
I have arrived at a place where my combination of a few surface design processes and my computer work enable my work to exhibit that quality of “my voice.” What viewers might not realize is the tenacity and pursuit of a few selected techniques with a kind of creative tunnel vision that it has taken to achieve the unique look of my artwork. I’ve chosen to focus on print processes like screen printing and monotype that don’t use a press, direct computer printing, and low water immersion dyeing, with an eye toward exploring color separation at the point where dye wicks into bare cloth.
Do you do a lot of planning for your projects?
Yes, I am thinking almost all the time about the various active themes I am working with. From the time I shoot a photo or draw an image, or print a batch of fabrics, to having a finished artwork is often months or even years. Because I use so many images in a single piece and work each image digitally and then with surface design, by the time I actually print the image on cloth, decide where it will go in a composition and actually sew the piece, I have become very familiar with my imagery!
I keep my notebooks and laptop close, so that those elusive, random thoughts that just might be worth something can be noted—well, at least the odds of being able to remember and record them are higher if the tools are at hand
Frequently, I use images iconicly, transcending their literal meaning. I tell the story of not having chairs when we lived in Korea and how the absence of an object gets one thinking a lot about the object. The object’s meaning becomes complex and the object takes on a significance beyond simple “take for granted” function. If not necessarily planning for a specific project, the time to think an image through all the permutations to raise it from image to icon is a deep exploration that I find an important part of my process.
How do you feel when you are creating? What does your art mean to you?
In one sense, I am creating all the time. I often sit reading the newspaper, book or magazine and a word or picture will trigger a thought that sends me to my notebooks to jot down the idea or train of thought. But in the sense of physically working on the computer or with fabric or stitch, I need big chunks of time because I zone in and become intensely focused. I easily lose all track of time. I love the work and I find that making art, while a solitary endeavor, is deeply satisfying and expressive.
Do you have creative blocks, if so, how do you overcome them?
I am rarely blocked. It’s more common for me to have too many ideas and need focus. I think because the parts of my process are so varied in how much head work and hand work are involved, when I feel stymied, such as those days when every touch of the brush or squeegee seems wrong, I can turn to a more cerebral process like writing or drawing in my notebooks or the Photoshop work. When the idea work on the computer and in notebooks is coming hard, I can go to the studio and work with the more physical processes of surface design or stitch.
Who do you feel has influenced your work? Who are your favorite designers, artists, etc?
Rather than “who” it is more “where” that was a big influence on my work: moving to California in the mid-80s was the real catalyst that sparked my turning to fiberart and especially to surface design. At the same time I began to experiment with discharge, dyeing and painting on fabrics, I was exposed to the work of many of the most influential quilt artists of the time through my local Monterey guild. Later on, a huge turning point in my work was when, thanks to Wendy Huhn, I discovered the thermal imager—more than almost anything other than perhaps the digital camera and the computer, that tool opened tremendous possibilities for me.
I probably shouldn’t try to list favorites because as soon as I send off my answers, I’ll think of many more. My favorite artists would include Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Louise Bourgeois, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Lenore Tawney…the list goes on and on. Fiber artists list would be a long one too, starting with those California artists in whose classes and lectures I was so fortunate to participate all those years ago, right up to artists of today whose work I own or admire.
Do you teach and if so where?
I teach several times a year here in Europe. I enjoy sharing my techniques with students and, above all, hope to inspire them to find their own voices.
Sounds wonderful, I wish I could attend....we will have to get you to the U.S. sometime.......
What are your plans for the future?
I have just begun a second term on the Board of the Studio Art Quilt Associates, which is work I very much enjoy. Professionally, I will continue making and exhibiting my artwork and working in several currently active series. My characters series seems to be subdividing as I have begun to work with a new group of work focusing on markets; and I’ve begun a group of works that traces how values--what we seek--change as we grow older and presumably wiser. Additionally, I am working with ways to imply the passage of time (the fourth dimension) in some of my new large works.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you, Sondra. I have followed your business from nearly the beginning and I know that you are a true appreciator of fabric and surface design, so it is a pleasure for me to be interviewed by a true and knowledgeable connoisseur of the cloth.
Thank you, Linda for taking the time to share a part of yourself with us. I have learned a great deal from you.....again. You, your process and your work is very inspiring.