Harriet SmithMany of my friends thought I was crazy! Leave a steady job to build clay vessels? Give yourself the chance...
Color, painted and dyed textile, hand cut shapes and stitches meet to form my vibrant fiber compositions. The inspiration for a piece can be an abstracted memory of a particular time and place, beautiful architecture and my consistent joy of observing and being in the natural environment. I hike, garden and camp in these ancient Blue Ridge Mountains.
I feel fortunate to live in a botanical wonderland… and I am both fascinated and inspired by the mystery, rhythm, textures and colors nature provides and how that is used to create art.
I have been working with natural materials as inspiration and a source for over 30 years. Working with hand dyed felted wool allows me to enter into a process which connects me to a long history as well as the animals and their keepers who provide the wool. The complexity and simplicity of the process is fascinating to me. I like inventing and experimenting with new techniques to provide new forms and textures. The physical involvement of this process engages me. There is something to discover with each new piece. Each piece is developed intuitively responding to the colors, tactile qualities, textures and rhythms that unfold as well as my personal history.
I enjoy the tactile qualities of cloth. I work intuitively like jazz musicians. I improvise, always searching for a sense of movement, harmony and balance. Drawing with scissors, I cut fabric shapes and apply them to a layered surface until they are in harmony. Moving with the rhythm of my needle, stitches and images appear, giving a new voice to each piece. Machine and hand embroidery, paint, beads and other found elements add texture and depth. I work until each piece feels complete. I feel fortunate to live in a botanical wonderland. A wealth of native plants flourish in these primeval Blue Ridge Mountains. My studio is flooded with wonderful light. From my window, my ribbon flower gardens and the mountain ridges seem to dance together in ancient rhythms. It is through my connections with the landscape and organic materials that I experience the miracles of life. As the creator of the Earth Quilt Project, I am commissioned by school systems, hospitals and group homes to work with the community in order to create a living garden. My work is in private and public collections, has been regionally and nationally recognized appearing in many publications including, Southern Living, Art Quilt Magazine, and on Simply Quilts, HGTV. From 1990-1992 I was given the honor of being an Artist-In-Residence, at Pamlico Community College serving on the State of North Carolina Visiting Artist Program. Please visit my web-site, Normabradley.com.