Featured Artist: Meredith Grimsley

1) How would you describe your medium?

Because I often find other people to be more articulate than I about just about everything, I want to share with you a quote that resonates with me. Maxine Bristow, artist and reader at the University of Chester, England, writes in a conference paper she presented in 2007,

?textile [is] a particularly potent vehicle of cultural and artistic expression. Placed in proximity to the body, implicated in the practices, rhythms, and routines of our everyday experience, and continually and invisibly negotiating the relationship between self and other, it provides us with what may be a silent yet undoubtedly powerfully convincing testimony? pg 49-50?The Textile Reader

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2) What themes seem to occur/reoccur in your work?

?In my creative work I merge the simultaneous existence of joy and pain with obsessive process.? In Zora Neale Hurston?s novel?Their Eyes Where Watching God, she describes the altered state of a woman seeking resolution and solace in prayer:??There is a basin in the mind where words float around a thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.???Acknowledging a sense of loss and gratitude in daily life,?I layer the surfaces of my pieces with prayers, personal journal writings, biblical passages and patterns which affect my choices, behavior, and faith. Each object made reflects moments of meditation and a longing for grace.? In pursuit of truth, my spiritual identity emerges. My soul?s yearning for a connection fuels my imagination. To my audience, I whisper about my search with the physical, indelible mark of the stitch. ?Recently, I have begun to contemplate pivotal experiences which permanently alter a person?s life and path. Through both unsettling and alluring imagery, I reveal the psychological impact of:? an act of terror; an environmental disaster; the death of a loved one; a terminal diagnosis; a physical ailment; the loss of innocence; the birth of a child; spiritual conversion or degradation.? By striking a balance between beauty and distortion, my work explores the endurance of the human spirit.? I am fascinated by the imagery and behavior expressed in spiritualism, mysticism and superstition. I want to delve deeper into these beliefs as well as the psychology and physiology of massive change in people?s lives.? Some significant events happen in a breath and are absorbed into our daily routine without examination. Others linger within us endlessly either corroding or correcting our core. Our minds and bodies are permanently reformed. We are reborn with a new perspective.

3) Can you tell us a little about one of your favorite pieces that you’ve created?

Pterygium:? ?A couple of months ago, I was diagnosed with a strange eye condition called a pterygium. This is a benign growth that covers the white part of the eye and extends into the cornea. The exact cause is not known but, unseen environmental factors play into the problem. If left untreated, it could eventually affect my vision? even permanently alter my sight. As I?m processing this information at the Ophthalmologist?s office, I can?t help but contemplate how, now that I have children, I must be mindful of so many?unseen factors?that could cloud my vision or that of my children. The Pterygium has become a metaphor to me of all the things from which I must now protect my sons ? terrible things?. disguised as benign things. I must keep my eyes wide open at all times. I must keep track and not become blind. Inevitably, something will get through. Things will happen to them that they will grieve all their lives just as I have those experiences from which I was not protected as a child.

4) What is your favorite thing or what are you most excited about seeing when visiting the City of Pittsburgh?

I love Pittsburgh! SO MUCH TEXTILE LOVE in Pittsburgh. I can?t wait to meet other artists and fiber enthusiasts.

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If you are interested in hearing more about Meredith’s work please come to her free lecture, Edge to Edge.?It?s Friday, February 21st from 5:30pm at Be Galleries on Butler street in Lawrenceville.

Meredith is also teaching an Experimental Fabric Dyeing class at Contemporary Craft February 22, if you?re interested in signing up click?here!

Meredith Grimsley’s lecture and workshop are co-sponsored by the Fiber Arts Guild.