Monday, June 6, 2016

Meet Kristin La Flamme

Meet Kristin La Flamme
Portland, Oregon

 1.  How would you describe the work that you make? Do you have an elevator speech? Have you found your "artistic voice"?
I'm an artist who likes to sew. I describe most of my work as narrative textiles. They are rooted in traditional quiltmaking, but are conceptually bound and open to the use of any technique as the piece requires. I also love a good bed quilt and enjoy making functional (mostly scrappy) quilts.

Photo: Suck it Up by Kristin La Flamme

2.  What brought you to making fiber art? What is your art, sewing, or fiber background? When did you make your first quilt that you considered "art"?
I've been artistic all my life, and learned an appreciation for handcrafts from my family. My formal training is a BFA in graphic design from Otis Art Institute. Marrying into a quilty family and moving overseas gave me the time and the need for a creative outlet that coalesced into short-lived traditional quilt-making and then into making art quilts which then broadened to fiber art in general. Perhaps my first quilt that was obviously more art than practical object was a portrait of my father-in-law's dog, done in the style of Susan Carlson. However, before that, I was already choosing blocks based on their names and conceptual appropriateness.

 3/4.  Describe the steps involved in your art-making process.
I usually journal about things I hear or see, making mental connections that resonate with me. I am inspired by the work of others, my own drawings, current events and commentary, humor, and basically everything around me. I allow ideas to percolate in my head and then I make a few rough sketches. The bulk of the art-making happens as I work directly with the materials, moving, auditioning, experimenting, until it feels right.

5.  Do you enter your work in shows? What would you say have been your top three exhibits?
I do enter my work in shows. My top exhibit is a tie between the solo show of my Army Wife series at McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, VA and the same show but paired with photographer Hunter Rudd at the Arts Council of Moore County in Southern Pines, NC. Currently, I have a piece in the SAQA/Textile Museum show, Diaspora: Tales of Migration which I consider an honor and a high point. My third most important show is having my piece 'Murica' accepted into Quilt National '15.

Photo: The Army Wife by Kristin La Flamme at McGuffey Art Center

Photo: Home is Where the Army Sends Us by Kristin La Flamme (photo by Mark Frey)

Photo: 'Murica by Kristin La Flamme 
6.  Describe your studio space.
I have a large room all to myself, which contains my fabric stash, painting supplies, a large cutting table, my sewing machine, and my computer. Everything I use is at arm's reach and I can leave it messy if I want. 

7.  How much time do you spend on your art? How do you balance your life between art, family, friends, day job, etc.?
I don't spend enough time on my art, but then again, I don't spend enough time with my family either. Finding the balance between art, family, our fixer-upper house, volunteer work, and a part-time job is less actual balance, and more like a pinging back and forth pinball-style from priority to priority. Hopefully I hit everything within a reasonable amount of time.

8.  Do you work in other mediums or use unusual materials in your work?
I enjoy regular life drawing sessions, but have not been participating since we moved almost a year ago.  I recently tried block printing and quite enjoyed it.  There's always room to try other media as I think it always informs one's primary work in positive ways.

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