Making her Mark
posted from Fosters,
Wen Redmond's journey as an artist began when she started making her own clothes as a teenager. Redmond went on to graduate from Mansfield State College in Pennsylvania with a degree in home economics. After retiring from teaching to marry and raise a family of three, she concedes she got "antsy" as her children grew and started making "artistic clothing." From there she evolved into making art quilts and now describes herself as a fiber artist. "I've always been doing stuff even back in high school. I made my own clothes and prom dresses and just kept going. I love textiles," she said. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen has since juried Redmond in both stitchery and surface design. She has mastered a number of quilting and silk screening techniques. Along the way she said she still uses some of them as she creates a variety of wall-hangings and other pieces saying, "Because I know the rules now I can break them." Today, she combines painting and digital media into one-of-a-kind art pieces. To make her holographic scenes, Redmond drapes silk organza — a transparent fabric — over photos of rocks, tree, utility poles and even her own shadow, giving the images a dreamy feel. The elaborate surface designs that characterize Redmond's work are not serendipitous, but a deliberate effort to devise unique mark-making techniques. She often takes her inspiration from nature but puts a unique twist on her digital photography, explaining she enjoys manipulating her photographs using Adobe PhotoShop. A photo of a rocky coastline on Deer Isle, Maine has been enlarged 10 fold and the lichen-covered rocks are now bathed in yellow instead of blue-green. Explaining that she keeps an art journal, Redmond said she cuts potential ideas out of magazines and when looking at a mixed pile spread out on the floor waiting to be incorporated, she photographed "the pile of trash," and used the image to create the foundation for one of her pieces. Dedicated to the creative process as a way of being, Redmond is attracted to the tactile quality of fabric and finds it ideal for rending a variety of subjects, including the natural world. As a fiber artist she is constantly challenging herself to do something she hasn't done before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but she says the fun is in the doing and the learning. She is quick to point out, however, that mastery of a technique is not immediate, and that within every perceived failure are the seeds of future success. She was just recently selected to teach at the Surface Design Association in Minneapolis in 2011 and was also tapped to teach fabric painting at "ProChem," a company that produces surface design material for painting textile crafts. "What I enjoy most is the unexpected, just jumping in and seeing what happens," she said. "Now I'm manipulating photos in PhotoShop. With my holographic pieces I layer photos with fabric and it creates a whole different effect. I enjoy the exploration." She will be demonstrating a variety of fabric painting techniques at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Shop in Meredith on Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Her work can be found at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen stores in Meredith, Concord, North Conway, Nashua and Hanover. More of her work can also be viewed at www.wenredmond.com.