I am very pleased today to welcome Carol Ann Waugh, who is going to tell us about how she became a leading fiber artist. Carol Ann, welcome to Art of Crafts and thank you for taking the time for this interview.
* Firstly, please could you tell us a little more about how you got involved in crafting? I remember putting on a craft fair when I was about 12 years old. My best friend and I spent the summer making things like potholders, crayon paintings, popsicle stick sculptures — just about anything we thought would sell.
* What is your earliest memory of crafting and is it from school or home? Other than the crafts fair, the first exposure I had to making something with my hands was when my grandmother taught me how to knit. Her mother was also an avid knitter. I’ll never forget when Grandma took me to the knitting store and bought me some pink mohair yarn to make a sweater for my mom (pink was her favorite color). Can you imagine giving this to a child for her first project? But that was Grandma. I struggled through it but didn’t continue knitting for quite a number of years after that. I thought it wasn’t fun! Later in life, I tried it again and loved the feel of the fiber in my hands. I still love this feeling and now have quite a collection of different yarns that I couch to the surface of my art pieces.
* Do you undertake your life as a designer on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? Tell us a little about your typical day. I am a very lucky person. Three years ago, I quit my full time job as a marketing consultant in the educational publishing industry and became a full-time fiber artist. My husband pushed me to rent a studio in an artist building in the newest and coolest art district in Denver, RiNo. My studio is in the Dry Ice Factory.
My typical day is to answer my emails in the morning and then go to my studio to work for 5-6 hours. I also answer emails and work on marketing projects at night when I return home. I gave up cooking several years ago so I also don’t spend any time planning or preparing meals. This is a big time saver! The way we do this is we order meals from our local Italian Deli who prepares 4 meals a week (economical, healthy, fresh & delicious!). The other 3 nights, we order Chinese or my husband grills something simple or picks up something at out local food market. Least your readers are fainting with horror, I should point out I was a gourmet cook for many years and I understand the pleasure of preparing a meal — it’s just not my top priority right now!
* We all have something arty or crafty that stands out as something we are proud of. Tell us about something that you loved creating, and why it was so special to you? The first Stupendous Stitching piece I created is still my favorite.
The way it happened was I was invited to make a piece for a an exhibition that was to travel the country for several years and I knew the reputations of other artists that were also invited and was scared to death my work would not be up to their level. So I discarded everything I was working on at the time and decided to try something unique and different. I had no idea what it would look like or whether it would even be considered an “art quilt” and fit within the exhibition framework. But by the time I was done, I had learned a lot about developing this process and found it was pretty addictive so I just kept experimenting and creating more pieces. When the piece was shown for the first exhibition, many fellow artists came up to me to compliment me on creating something new and different. That was my proudest moment.
* For those that are new to fiber art and what it entails, please tell us why you love it and why people should give it a try? Fiber is a relatively new medium to most modern artists and it depends on how you “define” fiber. As far as I’m concerned, it incorporates everything from paper, wood, weaving, knitting, thread, fabric, — and all the ways you can changes the surface of cloth including dyeing, discharging, painting, image transfer, to name a few techniques. I think “fiber artists” are becoming more “mixed media” artists and are evolving every year.
While I dislike the “labels” people want to put on artists, to me, fiber art is the most exciting place to be in the art world. I love it because I love fiber of all kinds. I also like the ability to play and discover new way of making art and fiber allows me to play in many different media. I pity the poor oil painters who can only work on canvas with paint!
* You are an established teacher of all things stitch related. What do you love about sharing this medium with others? First of all, I LOVE teaching. I’ve been a mentor for people all my life and the joy that comes with seeing other people learn and create is indescribable. I also teach in person about once a month because I enjoy the face-to-face human contact and I learn a lot by seeing their expressions.
I totally believe that I can bring out the “inner artist” in everyone. Teaching is a perfect way for me to reinforce this concept with other people and have them actually create something artistic and beautiful. When they do, they have the confidence to continue and they do!
* Your classes on Craftsy, Stupendous Stitching and Stitch & Slash, offer the perfect way to master the skills and techniques involved. What would you say are the biggest advantages for people with an online class such as this? The Craftsy platform is a wonderful way to learn because you can watch high-quality videos, download class materials and instructions, make notes, ask questions and get a quick response, and see other classmates projects — always fun and inspiring.
I also like the fact that the classes are affordable and students can start/stop any time and have access for a lifetime.
* What did you enjoy the most about making the Craftsy online courses? Getting my make-up and hair done, of course! Danica Jardian made me look 20 years younger and gave me a lot of self-confidence! I also loved all the people I met during the taping. Everyone was so professional and friendly.
* As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any other crafts? If so, please tell us more. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to incorporate more crafts into my life on a regular basis but I love the idea of Journaling and have taken several classes to learn some mixed media techniques that do not involve fiber. I also took a printmaking class recently and plan on constantly expanding my awareness of other techniques. As much as I love teaching, I also love learning from others.
* Are there any exciting plans you have in development, what’s next for your ‘crafty’ life? I just self-published a book on Stupendous Stitching that is available in my website store. I am working on creating an eBook version that can be read on the iPAD, Nook and Kindle Fire. The Quilt Show just launched my episode a week ago so I’m getting lots of inquires about teaching from guilds around the country so I imagine I will be traveling a bit in the coming year.
In June, I will be filming two short video segments for Quilter’s Newsletter, I will have my Christmas ornaments featured in Quilters Newsletter’s Best Christmas Quilts 2012 which will be on news stands this August, and I’m preparing to teach a class on Stupendous Stitching at the International Quilt Show in Houston on October 29th.
I’ve also been asked to teach on a Caribbean Cruise next year and I’m looking forward to that!
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