Tell us about yourself?
I am an art loving ageless woman who loves playing with color and texture. I love to play with all mediums of making colorful beauty. Right now I’m focused on dying and playing with natural fibers. I started down the fiber path by quilting. I learned the discipline of piecing and laying colors to make the quilts “pop”. Eventually that led me to wanting to dye my own fabric and then that led me to dying scarves to sell to help pay for my color addiction. On the way I’ve learned different techniques to use, Ice-Dying, Batik. Shibori and I’ve also learned how to felt. I’m a self taught NuNo Felter.
Well, that sounds very interesting and amazing.
Can you elaborate on what a fiber artist is?
We are the same as any other artist except that our chosen medium is fabric and fiber. We use different fibers and fabrics the same as a painter uses paints or a jewelry maker uses metal and stones. We are the people who walk through stores “petting” shirts and clothes with an interesting texture or running our fingers through yarns.
Anyone who works with fabric and fiber can be classified as a Fiber Artist however quilters will usually call them selves “Quilters or Quilt Artists”.
That is also very fascinating to learn.
Tell us about Designing Dragonflies?
Honestly I started Designing Dragonflies to get a sales tax license. I wanted to enter a quilt I made in the North Carolina State Fair; however they demand either your social security number or a Tax ID# as a term to enter. I got the tax ID#. So once I had the tax ID# it seemed a waste to not use it so after I started to dye scarves and fabrics and sell them. I find I have a ball selling my scarves and wall hangings. I enjoy people and I enjoy talking about my creative process. Selling my art is a way for me to validate myself as an artist because people are willing to pay for my efforts. I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself to add to me offerings.
What kinds of works have you done?
I started out years ago embroidering denim shirts and jackets. Then wall hangings. I also designed and made soft side doll houses and stuffed cats for resale. I started painting furniture and then settled on quilting about seven years ago. After taking different classes I found I really liked Art Quilting and dying fabric. I’ve also been taking portrait drawing classes and learning different techniques such as tread painting and painting on fabric.
Have you participated in any art shows, or art contests?
Yes, I have. In 2012 I entered a Felting Artist Challenges in Cloth Paper Scissors and had a NuNo Felted Wrap chosen to be in the magazine, I now have bragging rights to a full page photo in the November/December 2012 edition. Regarding shows, I started rather slowly in 2011 with 5 shows that were kind of hit and miss. In 2012 I found some better shows and was able to get into the diamond show in Raleigh, the Boylan Heights Art Walk. I just participated in Holly Springs first Arts Celebration and I’m entering batik panels I’ve played with in Johnston County’s Art Show in March. and another Gallery in Cary Mid-March. Since I have a daytime job, I’m only planning 4 big shows in 2013.
Everything inspires me. Trees, grasses, birds, berries, fruits, vegetables, sunsets, sunrises, gloomy days near water (a perfect example of monochromatic) buildings, mountains, oceans, desserts, cities, villages, people, angels, fairies dogs, cats, the moon and stars, books, the Milky Way, fiber, fabric and color, color, color!
Can you share a bit about your creative process?
My creative process starts when an idea flickers in my head and like a snowball going down hill and gets bigger and I just HAVE to do it. It could also be a theme as well. I have these celestial thoughts running around in my head so I’m starting to work on those using batik, thread painting and beads.
How long have you being doing this?
It seems like all my life. I grew up wanting to be an artist so I guess I pursued it. I LOVED art class in school and when I was able to choose classes in high school I took every art class I could. I wanted to paint and was really into creative embroidery. In High School I took some pottery classes but I just couldn’t get into it. After I got married at the tender age of eighteen I was broke and got into sewing, recycle, and nature art (anything I could do cheap) In my thirties I started to work full time and went to (shudder) business college at night…which did require some creative thinking but kept me so busy I had no time for art. Ten years later when we moved down to North Carolina I found some boxes of my old projects and it was like finding forgotten old friends. I’ve decided that this is my time to get back into what I loved doing so here I am. I’ve declared to myself and to others that AM, Artist (who meddles in paint, art journals, and whatever catches my attention) and I’m never going to let that part of me go for anything or anyone. Weather I stay in fiber or move on to the other mediums who knows, but it’s a journey that doesn’t really end and that’s the best part of being an artist.
What advice can you share for other artists?
Art is a visual form of self expression. It can be quite intimidating to show others what you make or how you see the world or what’s inside your head. If you want to be an artist, find people and organizations who share you interests. There are Quilting Guilds, Mixed Media Art Guilds, Jewelry Guilds etc, all over the country. Hang with other creative people and get their input on your work. Meet Up.com can also put you in touch with people who have similar interests.
If something doesn’t turn out the way you wanted don’t give up, it was just meant to be something else. Above all don’t give up on yourself and your expression.
Also remember that unless you put that foot forward nothing you get no where. Even if I fail to get into a show or if a piece doesn’t get chosen for a magazine, I keep telling my self “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Where do you hope to be within the next 5 years?
Being a full time artist.
I’m hoping to be featured in different periodicals, teaching my different skills to others and I want to be able to pursue art full time instead of having to steal the time to make this happen.
I really want to take the time to thank you for being here today, This has been so amazing. Also I wanted to add that not only is Katherine D. Stein a very talented Fiber Artist she is also my beloved mother in law.
If you would love to learn more about Katherine D. Stein her links are as follows:
Katherine D. Stein Fiber Artist on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Stein-Fiber-Artist/187109334672345