Revised - Nancy W.

History:

I was born in the Midwestern United States, and my family moved around a good bit when I was a child.  I was a tomboy with a frontierswoman imagination. I liked to imagine what life was like on the plains as settlers were moving into new lands, making everything they needed to survive.  When I was 5, my grandmother taught me how to knit and sew. She sewed most of my clothes.  I was amazed - she was like those pioneer women I imagined!  My mother always encouraged my creative experimentation with watercolor painting, knitting, and even copper enameling when I grew older.  When I was six, we moved to the South; it was a lesson in race relations.  In the Midwest, blacks and whites mingles and socialized together, but the area of the South were we moved was still highly segregated.  Later we moved to other parts of the US, where again, things were different.  I learned a valuable lesson: people are people are people. Even if we look, talk, or act different, we all have the same fears, sorrows, hopes, and dreams.  A book that made a deep impression on me was Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss. There was a refrain in the book "a person's a person, no matter how small." and 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 work with, hopefully helping them to ease their pain, fear and sadness, and to reach outward to their hopes and dreams.  I have been married since 1972, and have two grown children. 

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 our 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 the yarns that I use in my handwoven fabrics.  Weaving itself is very meditative and joyful as I watch the cloth that I have planned coming alive on the loom in front of me. In 2010, I began my journey into new areas such as the surface design process 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, bead work, and jewelry making with fiber, fabric beads, metals, stones and mixed media pendants. 

Content:

I create for the joy of it.  Creativity is a spiritual practice for me. I currently use colors to symbolize and share this joy.  The joy is a counterpoint to the difficult work that I do, helping people to express their suffering, honoring their stories, and reaching for their goals.  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 creating one-of-a kind items and keeping the ancient art forms and pioneer crafts alive. In today's world of mass marketed goods, I find there is great strength in making.

As I grow as an artist, I am exploring areas of content that 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.