I thought it was time to reconnect with Peggy and see where she has taken her work with fabric. Peggy was included in the 2013 Almanac for her beadwork. One of her two quite large necklaces is shown below. This beautiful pieces shows fabric beading and sculpting techniques. At that time, Peggy was transitioning into quilting, so, almost four years later, it’s time to catch up.
Last week, we met at the Dow Building in St. Paul where she shows her work in the member’s gallery. Peggy says it was a little over six years ago that she was bitten by thread painting bug and the possibilities presented with free motion stitching. One of Peggy’s inspirations is Barbara Shapel’s style of quilting. To Peggy, color is the most important design element so that’s where she begins. In work that reflects her love of the outdoors and nature or representing nature in an abstract way, Peggy focuses on color and lets it lead her creativity.
In the series of work currently at the Dow and featured in this story, Peggy uses hand painting techniques to gradually and softly blend a rainbow of colors together. The background is the perfect foil for the close up view of the subject. In this case, the petals on the peony are thread painted but don’t cover the background completely. Their soft coloration comes from the gradual color changes of the background. The peony looks like it is lit from within. Of course, the beadwork in the center gives the piece its special finish. All of these pieces are mounted on boards with wrapped edges and can be framed.
As to the future of her work, Peggy is thinking bigger–much bigger. Working through the structural challenges of presentation, she envisions a composition of pieces meant to be grouped and presented together.
Peggy wrote this artist statement which also gives information about her background and how much the creative life means to her.
Playing with color is my passion, and to indulge that passion, I make art. I get lost in the surface of fabric, using hue, texture, and form to explore the world. I think that the sense of touch is a lost sense in western society, and through dyes, paints, fabric, and thread, I work to create a tactile surface that invites the viewer to look more closely.
Painting, dyeing, collage, freehand machine stitching, and hand stitching are my preferred techniques. I love exploring new techniques to add to my collection. Learning is an important factor for me in anything I do, and art allows me to learn continuously, whether I am focusing on a new idea or image or am studying a new technique.
I grew up in a middle-class family in Wilmington, Delaware but moved to Minnesota over 40 years ago. I love living in Saint Paul because the Twin Cities offers a huge range of cultural activities, including supportive groups that foster my art. I also love the easy access to nature here; nature is a favorite subject for me in my art.
My mother was a nurse and my father a chemical technician. Whether due to my part-German heritage or my parent’s experience of the Depression, practicality was the most cherished virtue in my family. I have been working with textiles all my life, but I have focused primarily on functional objects, such as woven and knitted clothing and jewelry, until about six years ago, when I began making art.
I have wanted to be an artist since I was a child, however, and I have explored drawing and painting in the past. Something was always missing for me, however, in those media; I need the tactile in the work I do, which is what leads me to create my art with fabric and thread.
I have training as a designer as well, through an uncompleted degree in applied design. I continue to use the knowledge that I obtained in my classes in art and design. I particularly enjoy painting and printing on fabrics, and for all my work, I use the knowledge of color that I collected in my artistic education.
I have worked as a paralegal and an accountant, including a business degree in my past, a sorry effort at the practicality that has affected my life thoroughly. About twenty years ago, I successfully transferred the knowledge from those careers into a career as a writer and editor, and I still use those skills part-time. Age, however, has freed me to pursue what I have passionately wanted to be all of my life, an artist.
Peggy’s work is available for sale. Peggy’s contact info:
I would like to mention the names of the other fiber artists who are members of the Dow Art Gallery. They are Karen Searle, Laurie Richardson Johnson, Linda Snouffer, Carolyn Lee, Doroth Mayer, Joan E. Kloiber. The Dow is open for business and browsers 10 – 6 M-F, 11 – 5 on Saturday. Closed Sunday. The space is owned by Khanh Tran who has a frame shop on the first floor. The gallery space is available to artists who would like to become members for a monthly fee. I think there are artist studios on upper floor with a rather large pottery studio out back. The building, located at the corner of University and Hampden has great parking off Hampden Ave.