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Heidi ParkesArtistHeidi Parkes
“When designing a quilt I work at a design wall to view my fabrics much like a painter at an easel. As a graduate of The School of the Art Institute, my focus is on making contemporary art. Like many artists who draw or collage, my art adds something to the cannon of ‘painting,’ and can interact in an art gallery setting as such.
Some common themes in my art are those of mapping, memory, and color field work. I use fabric and shapes to abstractly represent landscapes and places. I use found textiles to incorporate histories and memories in the art. While I work alone, I encourage a feeling of collaboration in my art. First, in my materials, because the fabrics were made, designed, printed, and sourced from places outside myself. Second, I use the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi to collaborate with nature. I ‘allow’ things to happen when dying my fabric and when hand quilting.
I piece and quilt in an improvisational style. This tradition is well known in ‘The Quilts of Gee’s Bend,’ and they are often referred to as having a jazz aesthetic in their art. By improvising, when I start a quilt, I know the general direction in which I plan to work, but I have not pre-planned, sketched in detail, or gridded the design in advance. Much like an abstract expressionist painter, I react to the work as I’m making it.
Each quilt has three layers in which I create interest, design, and meaning. The fabric choices themselves are my palette, and have intrinsic meanings within them. Then, the piecing of the quilt forms the most noticeable image, the design seen from afar. Finally, the quilting holds the piece together, but it is also an opportunity to make a line drawing across the entire surface of the art.”