Betsy M.

Fascinated with fiber and textiles since childhood, I rely on line, design, color and texture to tell the stories in my fiber art. I am inspired by things that are new to me; people, places and things. I find mystery and excitement in the every day things that people from other cultures have and use and make. Their textiles, the materials they use for their dwellings, their means of transportation, their clothes, their food and cultural heritage, how they interact with one another and with visitors from afar and their every day lives fascinate me. My travel memories are filled with the people I’ve met and the serendipitous adventures I’ve stumbled upon as I wander. Not being a “guided tour” person, I favor public transportation with all the challenges of getting around using the universal language of smiles and gestures. I come home from my trips energized, with a suitcase full of outlandish treasures…..bits and pieces of wrapping paper, scraps of kimonos and bright red money envelopes from Japan…..odd buttons and trims from Belgium…..booklets and pamphlets, postcards and snapshots showing fragments of Byzantine mosaic floors, carved marble lintels, ancient wood doors, crooked little streets with crooked little houses, bridges and viaducts, farms and mountains, sunrises and sunsets. All are a fascinating mix of colors, shapes and designs that my inner muse plucks from my memory bank to use in my art.

My recent foray into the world of free form weaving caught me by surprise. I was sucked into the vortex of a new Saori weaving studio that a Danish woman opened in my community.  A four day intensive workshop with her sparked my desire to follow a new path and become an “intuitive” weaver. My weaving techniques are unconventional. When starting a new piece, I go through my stash and choose colors and textures of fiber that reach out to me and that complement the shredded silk strips I create from repurposed clothes and my hand spun art yarn. Sari silk yarns spun from factory waste by women in co-ops in India add vibrancy and texture to my work. My signature techniques add to the distinctiveness of my work. Each weaving has its own energy and movement; its own personality that draws a viewer in to explore it.

I feel like the Grandma Moses of weaving. At my age, discovering I have this gift of free form weaving is the icing on the cake. It draws on so many of my life interests in textiles, yet it is entirely new and invigorating. I embrace my teacher, Kathleen Keenan’s philosophy, “If you follow the weft (thread) it will tell you the story.”