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Wendy L Feldmann

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
I remember watching my big brother drawing when we were little kids, and thinking, "Hey - me too!" Ever since I was real little I've enjoyed creating things ~ I started crocheting clothes for my stuffed animals back when I was 6 or 7. I look back and see my childhood as a fairly magical place where I created little critters of all sorts, drew pictures, and made up stories, poems and music. I'd spend hours in the woods, talking to tree spirits and letting my imagination wander. I guess I never gave that stuff up! I finally discovered that you could actually go to college for ART. Wow. After a long college career, I received a BFA from ECU in 1989 with a concentration in Weaving. I had tried at first to focus on commercial arts, but I kept wandering off that path back to more of a craft focus.
How would you describe your work?
Colorful. Fun. Imaginary. While working with fabric, I like to select a range of visual textures and colors and meld them together. Sometimes it's only the addition of a little of this shade, or that one, that makes everything work. Give me a handful of badly matched fabrics and I'll *make* 'em work! >laughs<.
What are your motivations for creating?
I really think my brain does weird things. I've often seen something at a distance, for instance at a craft show, and gone, "WOW!" but when I got closer, I found that the complex textures and colors my brain had imagined were only that - my imagination. I think I'm trying to capture that intricacy in my art, so that when someone sees one of my pieces, they can go "Oh! wow!!" and then when they get up close, go "OH! WOW!!" One of my favorite parts of having a booth at a craft fair is how folk's faces light up when they walk in, and say "Ooh!!!". It's wonderful to see the effect my work has on folks! I get really nutty when I can't be creating something ~ I'd rather be creating than doing housework any day. The dishes can wait - but when the muse beckons, stand back! it's time to create! However I do find it challenging sometimes to integrate my muse with my 2 little boys...
Have you seen any art that has moved you recently?
My friends over at Live Journal have been a font of creative inspiration for me!!! Also, every time I log into EBSQ I get new eye candy and inspiration!! I'm really grateful to have a forum where everyone can share art.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
Color, color, and more color. And texture! Oh - and color! I really don't see color as just a flat image - to my eyes, it's always alive and vibrant. I love my gardens, the sky, the way water reflects images. Something as simple as a shadow on the wall can get me daydreaming. The crazy complexities of fabrics lined up at quilt shops makes me euphoric. "Quilting Arts" magazine is pure eye-candy for me. Right now I'm also fascinated with Hayao Miyazaki cartoons. Hummingbirds. Oh - and fireflies.
Read anything good lately?
Helmut Spanner's "I am a Little Cat" >laughs< (I have a 3 & a half year old son). No, actually, some Charles De Lint ("The Ivory and the Horn" is the latest), Tolkein ("Lord of the Rings" series), "The Moorchild" by Eloise McGraw... I really enjoy good Fantasy, especially if there's faeries...
You are something of a "rebel" by working in the art-quilting genre. What are your thoughts in working with a traditional media in new ways?
I always laugh when I overhear something like "Aunt Bessie could make that - she quilts, too!" in my booth at a show, or even "You quilt? Oh yeah, my Grandma quilts..." I just grin and say "These ain't yer Grandma's quilts!!" The only connection from my stuff to traditional quilting is if you dig back down to the basic definition of a quilt ~ "fabric sandwiching a layer of batting". Once you pare it down to just that, anything goes! "Quilt" encompasses so many things. I love the historic image of making warm quilts from scraps and pieces of old clothes ~ wouldn't you just love to have a quilt made from scraps from all your favorite old clothes? Such memories in the cloth! I have a box of stuff to cut up... someday when the kids are grown... But until then, I'll just keep creating portraits of faeries that emerge from the fabric...
Who are some of your artistic influences?
While weaving back in art school, I discovered Kaffe Fassett's "Glorious Knits". Yes! There were other contemporary artists out there with a wild sense of color! I was entranced, and started knitting up my weaving leftovers. I actually had the delight of rather recently taking a quilting workshop from Kaffe after all these years. I love Art Nouveau. Before I knew what it was, I knew I had an artistic craving for something that I couldn't define, and that I couldn't locate in the library. Somehow my heart had gotten trapped between Midsummer Night's Dream and Mucha, and I didn't have a name for it. Then one day I finally discovered - duh! There is an entire genre of this stuff! And it has a NAME! From then on I've soaked it up. I had the rare treat of catching the Alphonse Mucha exhibition in Brussels in '97, in Raleigh, NC in '99, and the Art Nouveau exhibition in DC in 2000.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
My weavings were almost always bright, zany, intense colors, and I discovered that I could "push" the colors and make them work, no matter how far apart they were. I love the mixtures of textures and colors that weaving generates. It's such a tactile experience - crowned by the soothing rocking motions of actually weaving the cloth. I kinda miss it, but I really enjoy now how I can focus on creating images using commercially-woven cloth, instead of creating the cloth. After I graduated, I started batiking, then sewing more, then log-cabin quilting, then free-motion embroidering... which naturally progressed for me into Art Quilting. I started with simple images, my favorites being cats (I have 4 great models). My work has gotten much more complex, and now I tend to focus on my true love ~ faeries and fantasy... Being a mom with 2 little ones it's kinda hard to find the time and attention span to create pieces as intricate as I'd like. In the future, I see myself adding more embellishment, and perhaps even using paints and dyes to enhance my designs. I've expanded into creating greeting cards and prints of my art quilts, and I'm hoping someday to begin licensing out my images.

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