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Artist-of-the-Month in June: Janice Schmidt

02 Jun 2020 10:34 PM | Caroline Williford (Administrator)

About June Artist-of-the-Month, Janice Schmidt of Goddess Rags, in her own words:

I found out about Local Cloth through some textile artists I met at a few shows.  I admired their work and they spoke highly of Local Cloth.  When I looked online, I was blown away by the breadth of offerings.

My Studio is in my home in Weaverville.  We moved here almost two years ago and studio space was a priority.  For anyone whose house hunted recently, you know it’s a challenge to find a home that meets all your needs.  In Atlanta I had both a home studio and a studio in a coop that housed mostly painters.  But I love working from home.  I love getting my morning coffee and going straight to work.  The home we bought has a huge formal living room with beautiful hardwood floors and huge windows.  Since we don’t live the kind of lifestyle where we need a formal living room, the space has worked well as my studio.

Since this pandemic started and the news was upsetting, I started making face masks.  Initially I made them to donate, especially for those on the front line.  But after a month, the requests shifted and the requests kept coming in for masks to purchase.  The orders have come in non-stop for more than a month.  I’ve even gotten orders from high-end boutiques.  I use my kantha scraps to make the face masks using a pattern that fits well to faces.  They now seem to be a fashion statement/necessity!

I’ve worked with textiles as long as I can remember.  My mother was an amazing seamstress and my grandmother taught me to knit, crochet and bake break (all very tactile).  I did a few commercial wall hangings before moving into making mosaics, which I did for roughly 20 year.  In mosaic you cut up hard materials into small pieces and reassemble them to create an image or design.  It’s all about relationship of colors and creating allusion.  I was exhibiting at High Point Furniture market a few years ago when I ran across some beautiful kantha blankets.  They were colorful and very interesting pieced together cotton sari fabric that was hand quilted by villagers.  I loved the handwork and that buying them helped create an industry for women across the globe.  I started playing with the fabric and the size of my projects grew from belts to garments.  I was hooked.

I think the fabric itself gives me ideas.  Since the blankets are so unusual and sometimes have odd assortment of colors, I have to think about how to best display the fabric in a three dimensional way thinking about drape and scale.  I mostly make vests and jackets that are reversible.  I pay attention to the look of a garment that I find interesting and might make a good kantha garment.  I love digging through magazine, Pinterest…wherever I see interesting clothing.

I can’t imagine ever stop creating.  My mother reupholstered her sofa when she was in her 80’s so I have a great heritage of creators in my DNA.  Creating keeps me curious.  It looks like the demands for masks will keep me busy for a while which hasn’t left me time to experiment.  But I can assure you that my curiosity is drawing me toward some of the dyeing workshops at Local Cloth.

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