Creating my own Artistic Tribe – the NeMaS People

Back of jean vest embellished with hand appliqueDuring the 80s, when I began my professional art quilting career, I was fascinated with wearable art. I had developed a geometric style of hand applique that I loved, as seen here on the back of this jean vest from that time period. My quilts had the same sort of geometric style, and when I approached gallery owners to carry my work, a comment that I often heard was ” I love your work, but it’s so…so… ethnic!”

Ethnic? Me? If you go to my About Me  page, you’ll see that I look like a blond haired “farmer’s daughter”. I always wanted to be dark and exotic looking, having read a lot of historical novels as a kid. In my fantasies, I would be carried away by a Bedouin chieftain and wear lots of colorful outfits and tons of jewelry. Not everybody in the 60s wore hippie outfits, and the crowd that I hung with was more into plain blazers and Weejun shoes, hence my desire for things more esoteric..

Going to art school wasn’t much more helpful in furthering my romantic tendencies. Society was going through the Minimalist period in art and a few stripes of color on a canvas was really boring to me. Once out of school, I could make art to please myself, and thus the geometric style prevailed for about five years.

However, most artists long for an audience of admiring throngs who hopefully will buy your work so you can buy more supplies. I was stating to write for several trade and craft magazines, and the prolific author, Robbie Fanning  gave me one of my first chances to be published in her magazine, “Open Chain”. In that article I wrote about how since every body thought that my work was so ethnic, that I was going to start my own tribe, the NeMaS people. The name came from my initials, “N”, “M”, and “S”. Then I got really silly, and continued with how since I was a tribe of one, I was an oppressed minority, and invited other like-minded souls to join my group.

Geometric hand applique on the front of a jean vestI decided that members of my tribe would be  composed of people who have appreciated the work of those who have created before them. They would pick and choose whatever styles suited their fancy and incorporate individual motifs into their own work to suit their needs. God forbid that I would ever censor another’s taste in composing their art work, but I imagined lots of yummy colors and details. I considered having an iconography, such as circles symbolizing the “wide expanse of the Earth”, but decided that any participants in my tribe would make their own choices as to amy conscious symbolism in their work.

I had great, good fun in writing the article, but pretty soon decided that I would make my art the way that I wanted, and buyers would come, or not. After a few years, buttons and beads began to appear..and appear… and, “Oh, look! Here’s a bare spot that needs something sewn on it!”. In the upcoming weeks. I’ll be sharing more of my early, geometric pieces, interspersed with the more embellished art quilts that I’m know for today. I love the look that I’m doing now, but wonder still, what new path I might take. Keep reading as I share my meanderings.

    How has your “look” in your medium been received? Do you even have a look yet, and are in the process of finding what pleases you? Have you changed your style over the years, and how did that take place?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form below or by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.

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