Artist Profile: Amy Parker

Fiber artist Amy Parker blends traditional sewing techniques with her own unique vision. We spoke with her about her portfolio and style.

 

"Lungs" by fiber artist Amy Parker. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI:  What is your background, and how did you become fascinated with fabric collage?

AP:  My formal education is a BFA in graphic design and I’ve had my own design business for the past eight years. I have always had a love of textiles, learning to sew and quilt from my mother, but never liked using sewing or quilting patterns. When I took a fiber art class at the University of Washington several years ago I started seeing myself as a designer and an artist.

 

"Brain" by fiber artist Amy Parker. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

I rediscovered collage as a tactile medium that lent itself to my graphic aesthetic. I began making portraits where I could hide meaningful details in the layers and go crazy with shapes and colors. Then I moved on to other subjects stemming from nature and my own observations. Since then I have continued to experiment with materials, textures, thickness and sculptural forms, like the bowls.

 

"Seaworthy" by fiber artist Amy Parker. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI:  You describe your work as “expressionistic.” Could you explain that, and your technique?

AP:  I use the word expressionistic loosely to explain that my compositions are done to provoke emotions or moods. As a graphic designer, I am very precise in my message and voice, but as an artist, I can be non-precise, distorting a concept, exaggerating colors and having a vague purpose–which is very freeing. When my quilter mother showed me a quilt technique taking small pieces of material, sandwiching them between stabilizers and stitching them into a fabric, I latched onto it. This came at the time I was doing paper collages and the quilting technique seemed to create never-ending possibilities with materials.

 

"Orange" by fiber artist Amy Parker. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

I still use small amounts of recycled printed paper as well as recycled clothing, felt, kimono scraps, yarn, upholstery and anything with texture. Mixing contrasting textures makes something unique; silk against tweed, or thread across paper. The machine embroidery is an added dimension to the piece and I use it to add detail or contrast as well to hold all the materials together.

 

"Heart" by fiber artist Amy Parker. See her artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

 

ABI:  Tell us about your biology-themed collages and the concept behind them.

AP:  My biology triptych is titled “Fertile Means” and includes a heart, a pair of lungs and a brain all in different agricultural settings. The organs are shown as living and growing outside the body in nature, like a piece of fruit on a tree; symbols for growth and pulsing life. The collages depict subjects that are normally gruesome when taken out of context of the human body and show concepts of growth and cultivation; extensions of my personal aspirations. My goal was to turn what has a strong “ick” factor into something beautiful and warm that looks like it belongs in an unnatural setting. The layers of these collages are dense and built up, creating a rich, surreal image.

 

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