Scribble Artist Interview with Valerie C. White!
Scribble Town (ST): Looking at Valerie C. White’s textile images remind me of a journey or a diary entry because they all seem to tell a story with much history, no matter which way you look them. Let’s see what adventures she has been on. Valerie, where are from and what are you up to these days?
Valerie White (VW): I grew up in Somerset, New Jersey, and graduated from Franklin High School in 1969. Our home was located in a rural section of Northern New Jersey. Many days I could be found outdoors playing with clay. I discovered a natural clay deposit at our front mailbox I would try and fashion functional objects and later bake them in my Moms oven… It was then that I knew I was drawn to making Art.
These days I can be found playing in my studio with the same excitement and curiosity I had as a youngster, playing with clay. I am currently working a piece to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela. My dream is to see the work hang in South Africa at the end of July 2014.
ST: You felt that you were drawn to Art and you didn’t deny that feeling. That’s wonderful! When did you start sewing and quilting? How did you discover this medium and was there somebody that encouraged you?
VW: My Mother sewed beautiful couture garments, I was not interested in making clothing but it was her careful attention to detail and good craftsmanship that made a lasting impression. I try never to settle for less than my best even it means redoing it.
I started quilting about 20 years ago; I made mostly traditional work using patterns from other quilter’s. Along the way to more serious and expressive work, I did crewel embroidery and fabric printing. I have always loved the feel of pulling thread through a needle this tactile experience fuels my approach to working with fabric.
As far as encouragement my family has always given me positive feedback regarding my work; their support sustains me when I’m feeling doubtful about my efforts.
ST: So you come from a family of makers, dreamers, and precise handcrafters. Working with one’s hands really does give a different sense of building and constructing art. Please tell us more about your multi-media approach to art making. How does this approach support the message you are trying to get across with your images?
VW: My approach to the work now includes learning everything I can about a subject before I begin to design the piece; I begin each project drawing in my sketchbook before I touch the first piece of fabric. It’s there that I work out design issues and get a sense of what the finished piece will look like, although that sometimes changes. I find in making Art it’s the serendipity and the unpredictable outcomes that often produce the most interesting work.
My work is can best be described as series of layers; I begin very simply and continue to add color or remove color, adding texture to create a more complex cloth. For me the texture added with stitch is what adds elegance.
ST: Yes, the more you bring into the mix, the more unpredictable outcomes there will be! That’s so exciting! Earth and nature allow for that and from what I can see on your website, http://www.valeriecwhite.com, I get the sense that these topics are a source of inspiration for you. Your colors are so real and your shapes are very organic.
It seems that you practice other forms of art by the huge range of workshops you offer. The sky is the limit for you! When is your next workshop and how can we get involved?
VW: My course offerings are targeted towards surface design and my classes fill quickly. My next class is Using Paint sticks on fabric, February 8, 2014 in Parker Colorado. The class is posted on my website.
My other favorite form of Art expression is knitting, I love the feel of the yarn and the endless colors available.
ST: What kind of music do you like? Is there something you are listening to at the moment while you make art?
VW: I do like to listen to music when I work, and I like all kinds of music from Miles Davis to Barbara Streisand. But what I find interesting is when I’m very, engaged in working I want silence…I find the music gets in my way when I’m concentrating. If the work calls for me to cut or measure then I need for the room to be quiet.
ST: Creativity is all around. It comes through our ears, eyes, and all of our other senses Any final creative tips for our Scribblers?
VW: I would like to encourage both parents and students to find a medium to express creativity. Pick a night once a week or month and make it craft night for the family… Everyone can participate what better way to engage in good conversation and fun for the whole family.
ST: Thanks for sharing with us! We hope to make art with you one day soon.