Artist statement by Judith Content
Like the haiku, my work explores the essence of an image, memory, or moment in time. I find inspiration in nature’s landscapes, from coastal marshes to desert canyons. Just as haiku have different interpretations, I hope the meditative quality of my work encourages viewers to draw upon their own memories and experiences when contemplating my work.
I construct my quilts intuitively using an array hand-dyed silks. My fabrics are created by using a contemporary approach to the traditional Japanese dye technique, arashi-shibori. I add and subtract colors in layers, and although I can control the results to a great extent, the element of surprise when the designs are revealed never fails to excite me.
My background in watercolor painting and my love of building things led naturally to the construction of art quilts. Every aspect of my work, from the dyeing, to the piecing, to the quilting and appliqué, relies on intuition as well as experience. As I prepare my palette of silks, I don’t take notes or record the results - but allow each dye session to enlighten the next. A collection of diverse silks are strewn on the studio floor, torn up, arranged and rearranged until they resonate. The composition of fragments is meticulously secured to the design wall, studied, refined and finally sewn together. Quilting defines portions of the design and appliqué is often applied to accentuate depth or movement in the piece.
I graduated from San Francisco State University in 1979 with a BA in Fine Art with an Emphasis in Textiles. I have been a full-time studio artist for more than 35 years. I exhibit nationally and internationally and my work is represented in museum, public and private collections including the Mountain View and Sunnyvale campuses of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. I served on the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation Board, as a juror for Quilt National and Quilt Visions and as President of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Publications include SILK and Textiles: The Art of Mankind, by Mary Schoeser, Masters: Art Quilts I, by Martha Sielman, The Kimono Inspiration by Rebecca Stevens and Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now, by Yoshiko I. Wada.
In addition to working with textiles, I enthusiastically explore other creative tributaries. I tumbled hundreds of pounds of community donated pottery to create “Pottery Creek”, a public art installation that flanks the entry to The Palo Alto Art Center. I design jewelry, hand-dyed accessories, paint buttons, crochet nests, explore book making and collage. I consider my home and garden canvases to color.