Being an artist is my third career. I graduated from Washington State University in communications and worked for 15 years in the radio/television industry. Career No. 2 began after my marriage; when my two daughters were young, I was asked to write a column on sewing and crafts for The Daily News in Longview, Washington. I retired from writing this column in 2010 after 31 years. During this time I also did some freelance writing for magazines.
About the same time I started my newspaper career, I began making quilts learning techniques from books and a few classes but mostly experimenting on my own. I became serious about making art quilts following my first Nancy Crow workshop in 1993. I have exhibited nationally and in Rio de Janeiro and Europe.
It took me a long time to say, “I am an artist.” Now I want others to accept me as an artist, not just a quilt maker. I feel I have made some inroads but continue to strive toward such recognition through artistic quality and uniqueness in my work.
About My Work
I approach the design and construction of my quilts much as an artist approaches a canvas. Each quilt is made up of individual pieces and/or blocks, but I visualize it in its entirety. Although my work is rooted in traditional quilt making, I continually strive to create works that break the established mold.
I usually work in a series with each quilt unique but building on a theme. I collage and piece improvisationally cotton and silk fabrics that I have dyed myself. I quilt by machine, using lines that enhance the piecing or tell a story on their own.
Many sources of inspiration and influences have shaped my pursuit of art in an unrecognized medium. Workshops have helped me develop expertise in dyeing and painting. Noted teachers “push” me to cultivate my own artistic style.
My newest quilts incorporate three-dimensional and unusual materials—burnished chain, paper, computer printing and found objects. They are leading me to new forms, and I find myself constantly asking the question, “What if…?”
Copyright 2020 © Melisse Laing. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED