A few weeks ago, over my birthday weekend, I spent some time at the Three Rivers Art Festival, an annual event of art, music and performance in Pittsburgh, PA. Although I am a curator and an art dealer, when I attend these events, I look for art for my home as well as artwork that inspires me as an artist.
One of those artists on this visit was Sandy Kephart. Sandy’s medium is fiber and in my opinion, what she does with it is nothing short of phenomenal! As a child, Sandy learned to sew and later, with an interest and background in art, began to create wonderful mosaics and fiber collages.
Unlike many artists, Sandy wasn’t afraid to talk to me about how she created her beautiful works. She also shared her inspirations and fascinations with fiber, particular patterns and textures.
“Fabric with all its pattern and texture fascinate me. Often it is my initial inspiration as it “speaks” to me! As a 100% certified fabric collector, I can throw nothing away and even the most questionable fabric, when saved, may turn out to be perfect for the right piece. The challenge is to look at the fabric out of context.
As an artist I am most inspired by the natural world around us. My aim is to convey the spirit of nature. In order to translate my imagery to fabric, I might start with an original drawing or simply let the piece evolve as I go.
My techniques have evolved over the years by combining both a background in art and a fascination with the medium of fiber. Employing various fibers, yarns and threads; I cut, layer, fuse and stitch in collage fashion to render a painterly image. The very nature of the medium tends to produce a stylized representation that is different, yet similar to a painting combing both realism and fantasy. Most often my work uses the sewing machine at the free-motion set up. This enables me to draw or paint with the thread as I move in any direction to create additional texture, depth and movement. My work is either matted and framed or quilted as a contemporary wall hanging.”
As an artist, I am inspired by unique ways to work with materials, whether it is fiber, paint, mixed media, photos, etc. to create a piece that has you questioning “how did you do that?” I am also inspired by discovering new materials (for me anyway) and new ways of developing my own work.
Check out Sandy Kephart’s work at http://www.fibermood.com.