Marianne Williamson started her art career as a painter. She now works with a variety of textiles creating contemporary art with texture, painting with silks and cotton. Inspired by her own images, she creates her unique fiber art.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
I have always been an artist. I was surrounded by art as my family collected art in the 1950s in Switzerland.
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I started taking private lessons as a teen. And I spent 2 years in Paris studying art history and going to museums. I’m a L’ Ecole Des Beaux Arts graduate in Geneva Switzerland.
How do you manage your creative time? Do you schedule start and stop times? Or work only when inspired?
Art has never been a hobby for me. I am in my studio every day, with an eye on shows and what galleries are accepting.
My favorite saying is “I never know what my work will be when it grows up”
Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
I use my photos for reference but then I go off and my favorite time in the studio is when I discover something new and painterly.
Why textiles? How does this medium best express what you want to convey in your art?
I painted on canvases and sold at the outdoor art shows for years in my 20’s and 30’s. So my background in painting has translated into my art quilts.
I started quilting 40 years ago at the same time but everything changed when free motion, raw edge appliqué came in.
Now I find paint flat and less interesting than working with silks and cotton. Im striving to “paint” with fabric so that my art quilts are distinctive and the public can pick out my work from across a gallery.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
I have developed a quilting stitch that makes the work move with the air and light. Hence my website “movinthreads.com”.
My borders are all variegated 12 weight thread on Solvy. I want to make the border finish the piece but not confine the idea.
Describe your creative space.
As for my studio. I have a large room under the eaves with long tables. 1 holds finished work all flat, piled up.
Two tables are on risers to work on large pieces (flat). I then move to my sewing room where tables are put together so I have a large flat area on which to work.
I don’t use glue at all. Instead, each piece is pinned so I can play with the pieces and move them around. This process can take weeks before I go to the sewing machine. The beauty of this is that it can be modified at any time.
I start working early in the morning, then when my eyes give up, I stop. There are times when I go back and even work late at night. It helps that my studio is one floor up in my house.
I don’t show my studio. If I cleaned up my tables and bins that are all over in my closets and on my tables, I would never find anything. My two dogs are always asleep somewhere near me. They are the only ones invited.
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
I get bored working on one piece at a time, so ideally I have one at the development stage, one in the sewing room, and sometimes another one pinned on my boards so I can look at it again and again looking for things that bother me with the composition that needs changing before I send it to be photographed professionally.
I also have every piece appraised as the last step.
Interview posted December 2023
Browse through more inspiring art quilts on Create Whimsy.