Because making felt requires movement.
Because hand stitching is meditative.
Because I find fiber art unbelievably liberating in that I have no expectations.
Making felt is a physical pursuit. Lay down the wool roving. Perhaps add some silk. Always add plenty of soapy water and massage vigorously until the fibers begin to interlock. Then roll and pound the wet bundle of wool until it is transformed into a sturdy, non-woven textile.
Although felt-making is an ancient craft, I feel there are endless possibilities to explore even in an era defined by digital technology. For me, making a piece of cloth from disorganized wool fibers is almost an act of magic.
After a long period of questioning my paintings, I switched to fiber art in 2015. I chose fiber, (specifically making wool felt and then stitching on it) because I had no expectations of the materials, the process, or myself. Turns out making wool felt can be very physical and messy, whereas embroidery is quiet and organized – the perfect balance for me. I like combining wool and stitch, two “soft” mediums, with something hard. The hard elements are like carefully chosen adjectives or adverbs in writing…they add dimension and an unexpected quality to a piece.
I don’t believe my art is specifically autobiographical,
but each piece does reflect my life in some small way. References to the natural world draw upon a childhood spent in the border city of El Paso, Texas where the desert reveals the Earth’s texture and the sky dominates the urban landscape. The layering of wool and thread reflects my training as a painter. Finally, thoughts about the nature of time, the environment, and the conflict between information and emotion, loss and community have found their way into my art. Sometimes overtly. Sometimes quietly.
Copyright © 2018 Kim Paxson - All Rights Reserved.