Ann Roth: Art that inspires
Colour and pattern are at the heart of Ann Roth’s weavings. Long fascinated with fabrics and textile structures, she also observes repeated shapes and rhythms in the world around her. Rag rugs, quilts, historic textiles from many cultures and a fascination with transparencies provide inspiration for her work.
She combines a variety of shibori and ikat dyeing techniques to create color and pattern in 1/2” fabric strips that are used for both warp and weft. She welcomes the results of unintended dye leaks and pattern alignment differences because they add to the complex, layered and contemplative abstract compositions she creates. Her ability to play, experiment and adapt has been inspired and influenced by each of the artists and sources discussed in this article.
Ann has participated in numerous national juried exhibitions and has had a two-person show at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. She lives in Raleigh, NC.
‘Art that inspires’ is a new series for TextileArtist.org, in which established textile practitioners discuss artists and pieces that have been influential in their own creative journey. In this edition Ann Roth takes on the challenge and reveals where she finds her inspiration.
Artist: Effie Goodwin Seymore
Name of piece: Wild Geese quilt
Material used: Cotton
Other information: Machine and hand pieced, and quilted. Exhibited in the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, a gift from Elsie L. Seymore.
I’ve been entranced with fabric’s many structures, techniques, processes, patterns, materials and colours ever since my grandmother taught me to sew at a young age. I know this had a profound effect on my love of textiles in general.
Before I started weaving I made quilts, and this is where my interest in creating rhythm and movement in my work began. This quilt from an exhibition at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design in 2011 captures what I love most about them: the makers are generally unschooled in design elements and principles, yet they have a vision and are guided by intuition, the ability to observe and analyze and what I have to call playfulness, or at the very least, the willingness to say “Why not?”
Perhaps some makers were limited by materials at hand and the finished pieces were mostly put to practical use, but the quilts they made reflect their desire to brighten their surroundings and to make something that is beautiful as well as functional. I admire both the makers and their products.
I swore I would never get involved with Pinterest. It seemed frivolous, but then I joined and I was hooked. Soon I added Instagram and Facebook. The reach of these sites is global, instant, interconnected, and non-hierarchical.
Years ago, current sources for finding what was going on in the art or craft world were publications which necessarily covered only a small subset of artists. With Internet sites, sources of visual stimulation are endless, and one site leads to another. On Pinterest, I’ve found examples of textiles from all over the world, contemporary and historical, fueling my interests in fabrics, patterns, colors, structures and concepts. I like seeing what other people find interesting, and it takes me out of my usual paths. Its board structure makes it easy to flexibly organize my interests.
I like Patternity on Instagram for its focus on patterns found in the built and natural environment as well as in textiles, and I follow museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert and a few others in order to be surprised by things other than textiles. Facebook has connected me to makers, galleries and materials sources as well as re-connected to friends in the textile world with whom I had lost touch.
Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade
Artists: Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade
Name of piece: Traverse
Other information: 10’ x 10’ overall installation, individual panels are 70” x 14”
I met Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade in 1978 when I took a screen printing class from them at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. They have been close friends and sources of inspiration ever since. From them I learned to stop trying to carry out a project exactly as I conceived it, allow myself to experiment and make mistakes, and have fun!
I have benefited from their contagious energy and enthusiasm, their wide open scope of interests, their generosity with technical knowledge, their belief that most anything is doable. They practice what they preach. Gayle and Duncan have collaborated since the early 70s and have lived since then in coastal Maine. Early on, they made printed, painted and quilted wearable art and art quilts combining their love of landscape and pattern. Scenes of rocky islands were framed by patterns of draped fabrics with colors and forms from each playing off of one another.
Because they continuously ask, “What if…” their output has ranged from small to large wall pieces, morphed into site specific installations, extended to large scale charcoal drawings which led to black and white ink drawings, and are now leading to new installations and interpretations of landscape and pattern.
Artist: Amy Putansu
Name of piece: Store Cloth
Other information: 48” x 30”
Amy Putansu heads the Professional Craft Fiber program at Haywood Community College in Waynesville, NC. I found her in my quest to look at structures other than straightforward plain weave. Amy uses ondulé, a rare technique that breaks the 90º angularity of the woven grid by raising and lowering a fan reed (the dividers are splayed like the ribs of a fan) as she weaves, coaxing the warp into undulating waves.
Through this technique she explores the connection of the ebb and flow of the ocean, an integral experience of her childhood on the Maine coast, to questions about her place in the world at various times and in shifting situations. I am moved by Amy’s creation of weavings that are visually compelling, invite contemplation, and ask deeply personal questions while using a process that is widely used to create cloth that is usually intended for functional use.
Her aesthetic is minimal, but the yarns she uses, while subtle in color and fine in thickness, complement and enrich the ondulé weave structure. Recently, she has been examining and interpreting the rapid change from the tradition of the handmade and thrifty use of resources to the rush to global consumerism and the industrial waste it leaves in its wake.
Artist: Doug Hollis
Name of piece: Oasis
Other information: 15ft by 200ft curvilinear kinetic sculpture of suspended aluminum quills; landscaping and public seating area; Brea, California
Doug Hollis is a sculptor living in San Francisco who has long been fascinated by the landscape and its interaction with the forces that affect it. His ability to make natural phenomena audible or visual using simple structures that are visually engaging but that also allow his concept to dominate have long impressed me. Doug is also my cousin, and I am fortunate to have witnessed and benefited from the way he has followed his vision and dedicated himself to the growth and development of his art over time.
From his 1975 Aeolian Harp, that resonates melodiously as air plays across it, to the comparatively vast and high tech Tilikum Bridge project in Portland, OR completed in 2015 by Doug and his late wife, Anna Valentina Murch, along with a technical engineer, that uses data generated by the Tilikum River’s speed, height, and water temperature to orchestrate a changing panorama of projected lights on the bridge’s structure, Doug keeps looking for ways to involve viewers and bring nature’s wonders into their consciousness.
Through the years, I have learned much about the creative process from Doug, and I have benefited from his experience and perspectives. He challenges me as he supports my in the pursuit of my vision.
For more information visit: www.annrothtextiles.com
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