Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spotlight on Kelli Perkins

I recently caught up with Kelli Perkins, fellow ArtSparker and all-round cool, fun artist.
Her color sense {ohmygoodness, it excites the daylights out of me} is both funky and sophisticated. My first introduction to Kelli was through her book, Stitch Alchemy, some time ago. I highly recommend it, her paper fabric and stitching techniques are both yummy and effective. Kelli's work is lively and exciting. The fabric beads on her blog are tempting me mightily at the moment. I wanna go to CREATE! which is Cloth Paper Scissors 1st art retreat in Chicago at the end of August.

So here are some of my fav questions for Kelli ...

DT: What best describes the work you do?
KT: I'm a mixed media artist in the true sense of the word. I'm never satisfied with just paper or just cloth or just ink, paint or dye. I love to combine things to create the unexpected. The non-sequitur is very appealing to me. You expect to find stitching on fabric, so when you find that it's on paper it sends a little chill down your spine. Ooooh, tingly.

DT: I'm with you there, Kelli. The process of sewing on paper is something  more than the sum of its parts.

DT: I love your funkified-realism. How did your style evolve?
KP: Since I don't have formal training in art, I don't have pre-conceived rules about what I can and cannot do. It's a blessing and a curse. I continue to find day-by-day that creating what I love brings authenticity to my work. That means I don't consider what other people will think about it. If I love it, that's good enough. How I get there is simply "whatever works" until I'm satisfied.
DT: Who is your favourite artist? Why?
KP: I have a roaming soul. When I am inspired by something, whether it's an artist, a place, a technique or a branch of learning, I delve deeply into it. I'll study it from every facet and soak it up like a sponge, then I move on. I do have some artists whose work continues to amaze me; for line drawing I adore Natalie Dee (, Danny Gregory ( and Carla Sonheim (; in cloth work I can't get enough of Jane Dunnewold (, Melody Johnson ( and Susan Shie ( Lots more inspire me, but each day brings new fascinations.

DT: What are your  business goals?
KP: Since art is my second simultaneous career and I have a full time life as a library administrator, my art goals are all long term. I would like to spend more time creating and teaching when I am able to retire from my first career. We're not there yet!

DT: How about your goals as an artist?
KP: My art goals are about skill building. I'm working towards competency in a lot of different forms. I really want to be able to draw well. I'd like to have an intuitive knowledge of color and combining it. I'd like to become more intimate with my supplies and know how to use them. I would pay cash money to increase my drawing skills and my rock drumming ability, but I've got to do it the hard way. One day at a time. Just like everyone else.

DT: Yes. Isn't that the truth! The more comfort you have in using tools such as color mixing and drawing, it is easier to communicate. And it does take time and patience to build these skills.

DT: What is coming up for you for 2010, Kelli?
KP: One of my all-time favorite projects will be profiled in the winter issue of Quilting Arts Gifts. I look forward to sharing that. It combines quilting with my appreciation for the sacred kitchen object. But my biggest adventure this year will be teaching at CREATE in Rosemont IL this August. I'll be teaching four classes and selling some artwork as well. This is my first big teaching gig, so my nervousness factor is off the charts. It's important to me that my students come away with a fresh sense of wonder and motivation. This retreat is going to rock!

DT: Any closing words, Kelli?

I feel like the luckiest person I know to be able to make art and share it with people. It's like living a dream. The arts community is truly a special place and my life is so much richer from the connections I've made through it. Every new day to create is a gift!

And am I glad that there is a Kelli Perkins in the world, sharing her art with us. Thanks for your time and continual inspiration.

There is still time to register for CREATE! so if you can, I'd get on over there.


upstateLisa said...

great interview! I love Kelli's book and can hardly wait for the winter QA magazine!

Gloria Hansen said...

Fascinating interview, Diane. Kelli, I enjoyed your responses to Diane's questions and seeing more of your work.

judy coates perez said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kelli's technicolor textile work and she is such an amazing person too! Great interview Diana

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

SUPER INTERVIEW with Kelli!!!! Fun and Funky and LOVE THE TIARA!!! Every girl need a Crown.

Thanks Diana

giddy up said...

Great interview! You both are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing...

Tammy Vitale said...

Enjoyed this post! I'm a great fan of self-taught and not knowing what you can't do!