Because making felt requires movement.
Because embroidery is meditative.
Because I find textile art unbelievably liberating in that I have no expectations.
Making felt is a physical pursuit. Lay down the wool roving. Perhaps add 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.
What drives my art?
I’ve always made art, but today I feel a new urgency. I’ll turn 65 this year which means I’ve known about the threat of climate change for years. Decades in fact. So what is different about this moment in time?
In 2019, I visited a friend in Montgomery, Texas and our first point of business was to go to the big, grocery store down the road. Upon entering, it was impossible to miss the shelves upon shelves of
in-store-brand convenient meals-to-go neatly packaged in hard shells of plastic. What I was seeing was the new, proprietary product rollout by a much-respected grocery store chain -- despite the global urgency to end single-use plastic.
Once back in my own home I was struck by how much single-use plastic is embedded in my life. The more troubling realization is that I did not even SEE all this single-use plastic until then. I want others to have that same jolt of awareness about the ubiquity of disposable plastic. Because you can’t fix what you can’t see.
We are living in an era of disruptive transition. Disconnect permeates our society. Facts and lies are indistinguishable; the past is often valued over the future; and seemingly, convenience and profit are more coveted than life on Earth. As an artist, I feel a responsibility to engaged in issues I feel are important.
Choice of Materials
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 stitching 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. Lately, I have been mixing natural materials and found objects with discarded plastic packaging.
Copyright © 2018 Kim Paxson - All Rights Reserved.