I'm so pleased to introduce you to Lyric Kinard's art! Her art quilts are varied and deep and the craftsmanship is top drawer. Have a nice browse through her gallery at her website. I found myself particularly drawn in by the small abstracts, especially "Art Card 2" - very rhythmic and exciting. After reading her book, I was interested in her journey as an artist. Here ya' go folks:
DT: I know that you had intended a career in music? What made you jump into art?
LK: It wasn’t quite a jump - more like a long sideways slide. My parents are artists, dad taught commercial art in high school. He couldn’t look at your work without telling you how to make it better. Naturally, I wouldn’t listen and was the only one of my six siblings not to take advantage of his art lessons, something I regret now.
Once I decided to stay home with my children I gave up the music (too many nights and weekends) and chose not to pursue my advanced degree. I had tried several different art media but after the first baby arrived I couldn’t figure out how to manage it. The paint dried in the brush, I couldn’t pick up the baby with clay all over my hands.
DT: Is quilting something you had done as a child or were you just intrigued?
LK: I’ve sewn since I was very young. It used to be cheaper to sew and the clothes in the store didn’t fit my beanpole frame anyway. I was beginning to be interested in quilts when a friend saw me going just a bit nuts at home with that first baby and took me along to a quilt bee so I could get out of the house and talk to some grown-ups. I was totally hooked. And I could sew a patch or two together, set it down to care for the baby, and it would be exactly like I left it when I came back. I think my sewing/quilting/art is still the only thing I do each day that stays done! A couple years into learning traditional quilting I attended a large show with that same friend and saw art quilts for the first time. It was something of an epiphany - I could sew my art! I fell in love and the joy has never left.
DT: You manage to balance a very busy family life with a successful career. Do you have a schedule that you stick to? Are you constantly multi-tasking? Any secrets to share with other busy moms who also run a business?
Except when I travel (and I do limit my teaching engagements) I fit my business around the kids schedules. It’s getting easier now that they are all in school most of the time. I’ve always done my art in small bits and pieces of time. Having a studio - or even just the corner of the countertop that I started out with - is crucial. If you only have five minutes to work on your art you don’t want to waste it on dragging out or putting away all of your stuff. I also always carry very small hand work projects or a sketchbook with me at all times. Almost all the work I’ve completed in the past two years has been done at kids pracitces, plays, and while traveling.
DT: Are you a self-taught artist or did you take classes in art?
LK: Yes and yes. I took many undergraduate courses in architecture and have studied with many well known textile artists. At the same time I am continually trying to educate myself. I read books, take on-line and DVD courses, anything to teach myself the skills I feel I lack. Currently I’m learning Dreamweaver and working on my life drawing skills.
DT: Favorite artist: someone you keep going back to.
LK: Tough question. I tend lo love whatever artist I’m currently looking at. Melanie Testa and Dierdre Adams are two of my current favorite textile artists. I’ve always loved Georgia O’Keefe’s abstracts and I am immersed in DaVinci’s notebooks.
DT: The "Desert Island" question. What would you take?
LK: Big sketchbook - india ink pens. Any old cloth and a big bag of embroidery floss and beads.
DT: Current obsession or project?
LK: A series called “Family Ties.” I’m using vintage linens and laces and stitching and beading them. I keep thinking about the women that might have made or used each piece and wondering what their story was. Thinking about the metaphorical stitches that bind families together.
(DT is drooling over these.)
Over the past 5 years, what was your favorite project and why?
I’ve done two or three portraits of my sisters and my ancestors. I love working with faces and I love these women. We all live very far away from each other so any time together is treasured and while I work on each piece I get to relive each moment. I also like to see the improvement in my skills as I finish each face.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Lyric. She has a fun blog. I had the pleasure of watching her DVD from Quilting Arts, Surface Design which, like her book, translates well to paper arts and mixed media.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Lyric!