Pam Collins Art
Pam Collins, an artist from Staples, Minnesota, likes to work in three divergent media; watercolor, fabric and ceramics. In the above images, you can see how each medium represents the same seashore landscape with each type of material emphasizing different attributes of the natural landscape. Pam is a member of the Weaving Waters Fiber Arts Trail and will be teaching a workshop at the Trail’s Open House weekend in September, 2017.
I want to sound smart, lofty, and impressive with art jargon. Unfortunately that is not me. I can only speak my language, which comes from my emotions. As Chagall said, “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works, if from the head, almost nothing.” I do almost all things from my heart and I know when I make art based on my emotions, I am successful.
I have been watercolor painting for quite a number of years and had been my only form of expression. I am still enamored with the way watercolor moves and changes when put on paper. The colors are so deliciously rich, I will never tire of painting with them. My work is mostly representational, but I paint in a non-traditional way. I use very little water when painting. Watercolor is extremely conducive to my favorite subject – water.
In my mosaic work I take objects that are broken, chipped, often discarded, and useless to others and create something beautiful. Life is not always beautiful, but taking these discarded, broken pieces and giving them new purpose is a cathartic process that allows me to prove to myself that life can be made beautiful from rough edges, shards, and destruction.
Making artwork with fabric is similar to mosaics. I use discarded clothing, old draperies and curtains, along with fabric scraps and remnants, using them differently than what they originally were created for. I have always enjoyed fabric; the way it drapes and flows, the textures and colors. I might look at an old upholstery fabric and see mountains or visualize a storming sea with a blouse print. When I think of my own history, I find it interesting to see where and how often fabric has played a part and where the threads connect.
The three media are unique in that Watercolor is fluid and moving, Mosaic is hard, sharp and rigid, while fabric is soft, sinuous and flexible. They are also similar; re-creating something new from something old; giving new purpose to something no longer thought useful. The desired result is the same however. Perhaps my work might be compared to a puzzle. Breaking, cutting, and tearing – overlapping, intertwining, gluing –all in the quest of making the pieces fit to tell a story; a story of renewal, grace and beauty.
I believe all humans have a need to be creative, and that art is made to examine our emotions and responses to the world we live in. I have found that working in mosaics and textiles are gratifying art forms. I have only begun to examine the possibilities of these two mediums. So few people believe they have any creativity within themselves, judging their abilities before ever trying. Whenever I have an opportunity to help someone discover his or her creativity I understand a little bit more of the purpose for my life. When we are passionate about what we do it is easy to share. As I continue in my work I am constantly discovering, and isn’t that what all of life’s experiences are meant to do?
Pam Collins is from Staples, Minnesota. She is mostly a self taught artist, who works in watercolors, mosaics, and fabric. (not simultaneously) She has studied under nationally known artists in pursuit of her favorite medium. Collins has lead numerous watercolor and mosaic workshops in her studio, at area art centers and school districts. Her passion is contagious and inspirational. She has received grants from Five Wings Arts Council funded from the McKnight Foundation. Most recently Pam won a 2014 Community Arts Leadership award.
From Great River Art Center in Little Falls, Minnesota:
“Being an artist is a continual learning and growing part of my life. My art is my response and commentary of life around me. Each experience and interaction allows me to think of ways to incorporate it into my work. My reactions to what I see and experience dictate what kind of art I produce. When painting, my style is generally impressionistic, with few details, to force the imagination to be used. My work is most often large, with bright, intense colors. When working in mosaics, subject matter varies greatly, and the medium allows for an abstract outcome.”
Other creative accomplishments:
I have taught watercolor at many area schools as an artist in residence. I have also presented Science Trunks from the Minnesota Science Museum to area schools in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This creative work is not directly related to fine arts, but it did allow me to use my creativity to present science in an artful way. It combined science with performance. I have led a number of 2 and 3 day workshops in watercolor since 2007. I have led mosaic workshops that included senior citizens at Lakewood Care Center, Art Learners at my studio, Browerville High School New York Mills Regional Art Center.