Spotlight: Kaylin Francis, Fiber Artist

Kaylin Francis Blue Yonder, 2013

Spotlight: Kaylin Francis, Fiber Artist

Needing just a table and her tools to create, Kaylin Francis is poised to take a big leap in her fiber art. After earning a BFA at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, her muse nudges her to try something entirely new and different. And she’s excited to see where it all leads.

Kaylin with My Nomadic Existence, 2017
Kaylin with My Nomadic Existence, 2017

What was your path to fiber art?

My fiber art journey started with cross stitch when I was 12 years old. My mom is an amazing seamstress, who tried to teach me to sew, but unfortunately our personalities clashed and it did not take, but I loved sewing enough so I started cross stitching. From there I moved on to needlepoint, which I did for a while, and then one day while watching a quilt show I decided that I was going to make a quilt.

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I purchased all the fabric for the quilt and went home and started cutting. It turned out better than I thought it would and from then on I was hooked. I started making quilts for family and friends, in the U.S. and abroad. I felt that I needed to take my quilt-making further, so I started researching and discovered art quilts.

In 2008 I made my first art quilt, and was amazed when a co-worker purchase it for his wife. In 2009, I earned a Certificate in Fiber Arts at the University of Washington. This one-year program opened my eyes and my curiosity about using fabrics, other than just cotton, to make artwork. Taking the certificate program led me to the Oregon College of Art and Craft where I earned a BFA in Craft (Fibers) in 2017. My journey continues.…

My First Quilt, 1992
Kaylin’s First Quilt, 1992

Who or what has inspired/influenced/empowered you?

Over the years, I’ve seen my mother make some beautiful garments, but one that I vividly remember today is a crocheted wedding dress that she made for a client. Earning my BFA has influenced me a lot in that I now have more confidence in myself and my art. I find that I now want to stretch myself by making fiber art pieces that include hand and machine stitching, cross stitching, weavings, and other embellishments.

What themes do you explore through your art?

Nature is a theme that is throughout my pieces. I love trees and include them whenever possible, and when I don’t, I include leaves. Seasons are a staple in my work, autumn being my favorite season, and I also love the freedom to experiment with and explore many combinations of colors and textures.

Autumn, 2013
Autumn, 2013

How do you make the leap from an idea in your head to the art you produce?

I like to make a rough sketch of my idea, then decide on the size, and from there I start cutting and fusing and sewing.

What different creative mediums do you play around with?

Fabric is my main medium, but I like to use yarn and I’ve also used wallpaper, lace, and paint. I would love to use metal in my next piece.

Blues II, 2013
Blues II, 2013

Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?

No I don’t. Usually all I need is a table.

Are there indispensable tools and materials in your studio? How do they improve your work?

My most indispensable tools are my scissors, my rotary cutter, my fusible web, and my fabric. I improve my work by playing with fabric and embellishments.

What Would D&G Say - Front view, 2015
What Would D&G Say – Front view, 2015
What Would D&G Say - Back view, 2015
What Would D&G Say – Back view, 2015

What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, movies? What kind?

Music or a show on YouTube.

When was the first time that you remember realizing that you are a creative person?

When I made my first quilt and immediately wanted to make more.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced as an artist?

Knowing that being an artist has to be done after work.

Kimono, 2016
Kimono, 2016

How have your formal art studies influenced your work?

They’ve made me more aware of colors and shapes and they’ve also made me bolder in trying and doing things.

Peacock Cape, Front view 2016
Peacock Cape, Front view 2016
Peacock Cape, Back view, 2016
Peacock Cape, Back view, 2016

Do you create with the intent to send a message?

Not usually. I create because I have to. Once I have an idea in my head, I have to do something about it because it will not go away.

If you were telling a story about your art to a stranger, what would you want them to know?

My art comes from inside me and it is a part of me.

What do you learn about who you are through your art?

I’ve learned that I’m confident in my art, but not in my life.

Kaylin Francis Blue Yonder, 2013
Blue Yonder, 2013

Where can people connect with your art?

I don’t have a website as yet, but plan on having one soon.

Kaylin Francis Quote

What’s next for you?

At the moment, I’m trying to settle back into living in Seattle after getting my BFA. It’s taken me a lot longer than I thought it would. However, no matter what’s happening in my life, my muse has stayed with me and has kept me busy. At the moment, I have a piece that keeps nudging me to make it. Fear and excitement surround me because this piece will be like nothing that I’ve ever made before. So, I’ll take a leap of faith, and go for it. So, to answer your question, what’s next is to be continued . . .

Interview with Kaylin Francis posted October 2018

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