Pamela Allen is a delightful Canadian artist whose art quilts are as vibrant and colorful as her personality. She says that teaching young children has convinced her that scale, colour and spatial logic can be her arbitrary choice. An interest in Folk and Outsider art has persuaded her that sincerity of intent carries more impact that sensational technique. Rather than be hampered by a persistent vision of the finished product, Pamela prefers to let the work itself direct the progress of its own development. Her work is truly unique and we hope that you will enjoy this brief look into her life and art as much as we do!
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS STUDIO: Morning person or night owl?
PAMELA ALLEN: I am a fright in the morning! Not only am I not functioning on all cylinders until I have my second coffee, but I wake up each day looking like a cockatoo with hair standing straight up. As the morning progresses, I get quite lively, and keep regular studio hours (about 9:30 -4:00) each day. I'll do hand sewing at night in front of the TV too, so I guess the short answer is I am a night person.
RWSS: Dogs, cats or......
PAMELA: Neither, although I like dogs. I seem to set cats on edge!
RWSS: Favorite place you've been or lived?
PAMELA: I have just been to Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, a spectacularly beautiful and peaceful village by the ocean. It is now equal with Tuscany as a favorite destination.
RWSS: Mac or PC?
RWSS: Right or left handed?
PAMELA: Right handed, although it surprises people that I am a left footer when "driving" my sewing machine.
RWSS: Who's on your i-pod?
PAMELA: HaHaHa! We are Luddites in this household. No i-Pod, no cell phone.
RWSS: Favorite quote?
PAMELA: "Nothing great comes easy" something my late beloved step-father used to say.
ONE DEMURE, ONE IN YOUR FACERWSS: Best advice you've ever received?
PAMELA: "Your first idea is your worst idea". This from a professor in the fine arts department who judged my silk screen to be the WORST of the class! I was annoyed at the time, but have come to realize this is true.
RWSS: Worst advice you've ever received?
PAMELA: "Never let them see you sweat". What dumb advice! We all get nervous, feel inadequate or suffer from insecurities. Better to share one's misgivings than try to pretend you are above it.
RWSS: What do you do to unwind?
PAMELA: I read a lot. I go outside, garden, ride my bike. I visit my best friend in all the world EVERY Wednesday afternoon for wine and good conversation.
RWSS: If you had to choose another career what would it be?
PAMELA: I HAD another career! A lab tech for 12 years. I couldn't face staring down a microscope for the rest of my life, so went to art school at age 30.
RWSS: Are there any of your own pieces that you can't bear to part with?
PAMELA: Hmmmmm I guess I am not too sentimental about my work. I let everything go that may bring pleasure to someone else.
RWSS: Any indispensable tools or equipment?PAMELA: My favorite tools are:
1) A cross hair laser level. Until I discovered this neat tool, my quilts were never square and hung in a wavy wonky fashion.
2) Dremel tool. I figure anything that can have a hole drilled into it, is embellishment. The dremel is useful for that, as well as smoothing sculpy items and carving little wooden faces etc.
3) A 16" scroll saw. I realize this is not a "must have" for most quilters, but for manipulating wooden shapes and cutting things like wedding cake columns in half, it's great!
RWSS: Best part of your day?
PAMELA: Lunch. My husband is an artist as well and we both go to our respective studios in the morning. At noon, we meet for lunch, talk about what we have been doing at work and generally relax.
RWSS: What would you do with a few extra hours each day?
PAMELA: Catch up on email and business necessities (AARGH!).
RWSS: Do you do anything special for your birthday?
PAMELA: ALWAYS have a special dinner with family and a cake that hubby makes from scratch.
RWSS: Best dessert?
PAMELA: Something gooey, heavy and delicious.....like extreme brownies or sticky toffee pudding.
RWSS: What is the one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
PAMELA: That I have been cutting my own hair for 30 years! Hmmm.... maybe that WOULDN'T surprise them!
RWSS: What's on the horizon for.....
PAMELA: More like a dream than a plan. But I long to visit India.
RWSS: Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
PAMELA: David Attenborough, a man I admire tremendously for his lifetime of bringing quality programs about nature, our planet and unknown places to me. I would just love to go to Turkey with him and find out how he managed the rest of his life, while traveling all over the planet.
RWSS: Any words of wisdom?
PAMELA: In all you do, be fearless.
"Think Like an Artist" is an exploration of three dimensional effects and helps the aspiring artist make the transition from traditionally designed quilts to ART quilts.