Linda Anderson has always had a passion to create. She saw her first art quilt and realized she had discovered her perfect medium to explore her visions. Each piece of artwork is a story of the beauty, strength and dignity inherent in each person. Each one is planned out to the very last detail before she begins.
How did art quilting find you? Were there other mediums before quilting? If so, how do they contribute to what you are doing now?
I have always been an artist from childhood till now. Sometimes it was full time, other times it was in the background as I raised a family and pursued other career interests. But always I was creating one thing or another, usually with paints and color pencils, and sewing clothes and other items.
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It wasn’t until 2009 that I saw my first art quilt and realized my two loves could morph into one. I went home and taught myself how to create using fabric instead of canvas and paper to do what I wanted to do visually.
My passion to create has always been within me. Now I had the perfect medium to use to explore my visions.
Is there an overarching theme that connects all of your work?
My work is about man’s unlimited capacity for inhumanity. I have traveled wide enough to understand the shared identity many of us have, no matter our address on the globe.
I want to give acknowledgement to those that our society, and many others, dismiss, demean, disenfranchise and ignore as less than and ‘other’. Each artwork is a story of the beauty, strength and dignity inherent in each person.
Does your work have stories to tell? What inspires you to create?
I’m inspired by the constant stories that surface each day of problems in the world. I want to create a ‘beautiful’ image of that story, to make the reality of that event easier to take in visually, and perhaps help the viewer experience the connectedness we all share.
I am always on alert for photographs of the human story in many publications, as well as in my own travels. The stories of humanity are unceasing and speak loudly to me.
Do you plan your work out ahead of time, or do you just dive in with your materials and start playing?
I plan out exactly what I want my finished piece to look like by creating a colored pencil drawing before I touch fabric, working from photographs I take or that friends have taken.
I’m one of those artists who needs to know where I’m going at the front end. The human story in the image must grab my heart and not let go. If it doesn’t, I won’t spend the 1000 hours needed to create the artwork. Time is finitely precious to me.
That drawing becomes my ‘design wall’ where I work out all the elements of composition and design.
I take that drawing, usually 18×24 inches, to a printing company and have them enlarge it in black and white to the actual finished size I want the artwork to be. All the various shapes are then cut out and traced onto white fabric. I will spend 3-4 weeks painting all the various pieces.
I have classical formal art training, earning an MFA from Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County back in the 1970s. That training is deep inside my approach to composition and has become intuitive. I love using dark value and high contrast, along with strong rich colors to catch the viewers eye, and lots of subtlety and delicacy upon closer viewing.
All my art is raw edge appliqué, having painted on white-on-white printed motif fabric. I use Jacquard Textile paints, using many, many layers of water washed to slowly build up the depth of color without obliterating the white printed motif. Having cut out the various piece shapes…. such as an arm and hand, or foot, or garment….I hold that piece against my original drawing to determine if it needs more work or not.
Each artwork takes about 5 months from start to finish, working 6 days a week, 6 to 8 hours a day. This is what I wake up to do.
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
Most times I listen to audio books while I either draw, paint or stitch. And sometimes music I find myself singing along with as I endlessly stitch.
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
I work on one artwork at a time. The daily multitude of decision making consumes my thinking beyond just the work hours. It is easy to know when the particular piece is done if it matches my original drawing. Remember, I know where I’m ultimately going before I start.
Do you enter juried shows? Do you approach your work differently for these venues?
I enter many exhibits each year, both fiber exhibits and fine art exhibits. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of being accepted. But few people know I am rejected just as often as well. I have had solo shows in the US and France.
I don’t create for someone else’s theme. There are too many of my own stories I want to tell and not enough time to do them all. If one of my artworks happen to fit an events theme, then I’ll enter it and hope it is accepted.
Tell us about your blog and/or website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
I have a website I invite viewers to enjoy: laartquilts.com. I hope many are inspired by the stories I tell of our shared humanity.
Interview posted February 2023
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