Wednesday, April 13, 2011



"Thank you for this opportunity.  I find every time I do something along these lines, I learn more about my processes and inspirations- that is a gift". 

New England resident Wen Redmond is a mixed media fibre artist who enjoys pushing boundaries to see "what if ?".  Her works often include painting, dying, stamping, screen and mono printing.  She has embraced technology in her work, using her own photographs that have been digitally and artistically manipulated and printed on a variety of materials.  Wen has also created an innovative technique with printed photographs on silk organza that when mounted create a unique holographic image with a 3-D effect.  Her work is unique and we were honored to have her participate in our interview series.   

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS STUDIO:    Did you always envision a life as an artist? 
WEN REDMOND:  No, but I have always been making things, doll clothes, my own clothes as a teenager, a wall hanging in felt for art class and in the 60’s embroidered jeans and funky outfits. Always fiber.

RWSS:    Do you have a dedicated studio space?  
WEN:  Yes, I have two spaces. I have a ‘dry’ studio at my home. This is where I do business stuff, computer design and printing, finish work and do photography. I have a studio in Salmon Falls Mill in Rollinsford NH. This is my public space and my sanctuary. I teach, do wet work, design, and have open studios here. Someday I will combine the two but for now they each serve a purpose and have an energy all their own.

RWSS:  Has the advancement of computers and technology impacted your work?  
WEN:  Oh yes, I love the digital world! I call my computer, ‘puter. It is a wonderful tool. I will design work, visit blogs and go to galleries from the comfort of my studio. I have always enjoyed taking photographs and when they went digital and I could incorporate images in my work, my work exploded.


RWSS:    Why is it important for you to create all of your own fabrics? 
WEN:  I enjoy it. Making my fabrics is like painting on a canvas. These are my art pieces. A somewhat rebellious streak also prompts me to make it ‘mine’! Using the colors I create and the process itself is an aspect of self expression, a process- part of the whole.

RWSS:   Any indispensable tools or equipment?      
WEN:   An area where you can mess up is the best. My wet studio has the most colorful floor! Ease of equipment- being organized is helpful. There is nothing worst then being in the throes of creating and not being able to find what you need!

RWSS:   My greatest source of inspiration is……
WEN:  Basically nature. I love being outdoors. When I’m immersed in air, and beauty my mind becomes free. After a while, thoughts and ideas will bubble up from my unconscious. It is my source, my well. But other artists too. They turn me on. I look at artists outside of the field and I wonder- how could I do that in fiber?


RWSS:  Favorite quote?  
WEN:  Oh, I have lots of these. I will cut them out of magazines; type them up from wherever I find them. Sometimes I write my own bits. You read a quote and you stop rushing for a minute and think aha! I get that. I will remember that when I am out of sorts or racing around. I’ll see one I’ve stuck somewhere and it stops me. I breathe again. “An evolution. I make the art and then the art makes me”. (Mine) Or “Art is making the imagination real”. or  “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come”. Chinese Proverb

RWSS:   When do you do your best creative thinking?  Can you elaborate on “being in the flow”?
WEN:  My inspirations generally come from being outside- that’s when I get in touch with the inside. I think best alone without distractions. So late at night I will wander on the web, or delve into my journal. I’ll take walks, go to the ocean. Every so often I will take myself away for a retreat. No art, just to reconnect with my inner core.
Being in the Flow is a phrase I borrowed or coined years ago. It is the name of one of my workshops on curved piecing and the foundation for my art making. It is a place where you lose yourself in making the art. There is no ego. You respond to the art as it unfolds. When I’m in the flow I feel as if I a connected to a higher source. Someone once told me, ‘When I look at your art, I know it will come with me and affect me later”.  Those moments in the forest, return with me, that meditative quality comes though when I’m in the flow.
This is my very first artist statement-“Making art always puts me into a certain space, a meditation. I call this ‘being in the flow”. It allows thoughts and feelings to bubble up from the unconscious. I can put that energy into my art. Later, viewing the piece, I can revisit that feeling. It is like reading a poem or hearing a familiar story. It brings you back. It gives pleasure. That’s my hope for anyone viewing my pieces”.


RWSS:    Your thoughts on keeping a creative journal?  
WEN:  I do keep a journal. I started with a scrapbook on dogs with black noses as a child and have kept a journal ever since. I love books and now make copic bound artbooks. I highly recommend these. Making a book is like making art. You make the paste paper covers and can even paint into the pages. The texture and touch is so similar to fiber works. I do a little exercise. At night, before bed, I will thumb though old magazines and tear out anything that I stop to look at for more than 10 seconds. These go into a pile and later I paste them into one of my journals. I write my ideas there too. If I ever run out of ideas I can turn to them. They teach me.  

RWSS:    Your look is very distinctive and innovative – who or what (if anything) has influenced your style?
WEN: I have my favorites- I love the abstract expressionists, Jane Frank, Paul Klee, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Jules Olitski- the classics. Georgia O’Keefe- I have always admired strong independent women. I like the serenity of Andrew Wyatt’s work. The trees of Wolf Kahn. The photography of Alfred Stieglitz, Ansell Adams, and the innovative work of Mike and Doug Starn. The fiber revolutionary work of Joan Schultz, Nancy Crow, and Yvonne Porcella. Jane Dunnawold, Jean Ray Laury, Erika Carter, Maggie Grey, Jan Beanny. The digital guru’s Karine Schminke, Dorothy Simpson Krause and Bonny Pierce Lhotka, and Mary Taylor. I could go on. I love artists!

RWSS:   How do you know when to “stop” – when do you consider a piece actually finished?
WEN:  I usually just stop. Often though, even after it’s quilted I’ll go back in and add a detail there or a touch here. 

RWSS:   What do you enjoy most about your work?  
WEN:  Everything! I am a process person. I enjoy the inspiration, thinking up new ideas, the painting, photography, everything. I do it 24/7. The thing I’ve noticed is the more you practice something, the better you get. Being an artist, you develop an ‘eye’. Now, I sometimes see the most exquisite things in the most common places. Your eye becomes very sensitive and gives you the most wonderful visions!

RWSS:   Best advice you’ve ever received?
WEN:  Be yourself. Only you can do what you must do. Come from the very best place in yourself. Honor that. It takes so much energy to try to be like someone else.

RWSS:   Do you think the Modern Art Quilt & Textile Movement is moving closer to being recognized by the “art world”? 
WEN:  Of course! It is the next ART movement. How can so many people around the world make so many pieces of wonderful art and NOT be recognized! We are a revolution. What we do with our fiber art is the new way of making art. It is not left to those just in the art world anymore, anyone can try. It is becoming more inclusive. Art is embracing us because they can‘t ignore such a wave. I read in American Arts magazine sometime back, that fiber art is becoming very collectable because it is new and more affordable. Rock it on fiber artists!

      RWSS:   Is it important for us to be recognized by the art world and if so, how can we help affect    that change? 
WEN:  It’s only important if you want it. To be recognized by the ‘art’ world legitimizes our work and this is important because it mainlines it, exposes it to more people. I try to get my work into non-fiber venues, be it galleries, shows and exhibits. Very often though, I am told by the art world my work borders on crafts and in the craft world, I am told it belongs in the art world. We are on the cusp.

RWSS:   Best part of your day? 
WEN:  Morning! A brand new day to write on the slate of my life!


RWSS:   Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?    
WEN:  I wish I had tried to meet Katherine Hepburn. She lived in Connecticut and a long time ago my husband said to write her a letter. I never did. Years after she died, I read a book about a woman who did just that and they became friends. What a woman!

RWSS:   What is the one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
WEN:  Perhaps that I am introspective and used to be shy. But I am over 50 now and found my voice. I guess for women it takes that long to realize you have to validate yourself, that your inner process is the best and coming from that gives you tremendous strength of courage.


RWSS:   What is on the horizon for Wen Redmond?
WEN:  I have so many ideas and so little time. I would like to write a book. I have submitted, a couple years ago. But  now that is on hold-perhaps later, after I work up some more pieces. I am so lucky to be a fiber artist. We have so many kindred spirits who are mad like me!

RWSS:   Any words of wisdom?
WEN:  In the words of the 1960’s radical, Jerry Rubin, Just DO it!

To learn more about this fascinating artist please visit Wen's website  or her blog Fibre Art Goddess.

Thank you Wen!

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