Nancy W.

History: 

I was born in the Midwestern United States, and moved around a good bit as a child. I had two older brothers and loved to play outside as a child, following the boys around.  I was a tomboy with a frontierswoman imagination. I liked to imagine what life was like on the frontier as settlers were moving into new lands, and making everything they needed to survive. When I was 5, my grandmother taught me to knit, and sew.  I was amazed, she knew how to do all this stuff!   My mother said she was not "crafty" but she always encouraged my experimentation with watercolor painting, knitting and copper enameling.   When we moved from the Midwest to the deep South when I was 6, it was a lesson in race relations.  In the Midwest, blacks and whites mingled and socialized together. In the South, the area where I lived was still highly segregated and there was a lot of prejudice and separation between the races. When I was in 8th grade, we moved again this time to Upstate New York.  Another culture shock!  Here there were no people of color, but prejudice still existed as folks separated themselves by religion, and ethnic backgrounds.  I found, however, that even though people and customs were very different, and people were often not treating each other well or fairly, I learned that people are people under the skin.  We all have the same hopes, dreams, fears and sorrows. Remember the book, Horton Hears a Who and the refrain: "a person's a person no matter how small."?  I took this refrain to heart. My choice of career was as a Psychologist, a career that I have pursued since leaving graduate school in 1978. In this work, I listen deeply to the life experiences of the people that I work with, hopefully helping them to ease their pain, fear, and sadness, and to reach outward into their goals.  

Processes:

I began weaving in 1976, and immediately fell in love. I bought my first loom in 1980; it was a kit, so I had to build the loom before I could even start weaving.   Since then, while working full-time and raising my two children, I always found time to weave.  I studied design and drawing at the Glassell School of Art in Houston, Texas, and continued my studies by participating in many workshops and classes in the fiber arts.  I love the process of making cloth at the loom, and the feel of luxury fibers such as silk and linen; I dye some of my yarns that I use in my handwoven fabrics. I love the whole process of weaving, the planning and designing, setting up of the loom, and then the actual weaving of the cloth.  Weaving itself is very meditative and joyful, as a I watch the cloth that I had planned coming alive on the loom in front of me.  In 2010, I began my journey into new areas such as the surface design processes of fabric painting, deconstructed screen printing, shibori dyeing, and mono-printing on fabric. I have also become interested in other fiber arts, such as felting, beadwork and jewelry making with fiber, metals, stones and mixed media pendants.  

Content: 

I create for the joy of it.  Creativity is a spiritual practice.  I currently use colors to symbolize and share this joy. The joy is a counterpoint to the difficult work that I do, sharing and help people to express their suffering,stories and wishes in life.  I also love making art that people will wear. Human beings have adorned their bodies for centuries: to celebrate, to worship, to communicate, and to express their cultural and personal identities.  I find it very meaningful to create things that others will wear and find beautiful.   I like the process of making one-of-a kind items and keeping ancient art forms and crafts alive. In today’s world of mass marketing, and imported goods, I find there is great strength in making.  

As I grow as an artist, I am exploring areas of content which will express the wonderful diversity of people, and honor this.  A person's a person no matter how we differ,  and what is important is what lies within.