Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marvelous Moments in Fiber

Hello SEFAA members, fiber artists and friends. Every life is filled with lots of everyday, ordinary happenings and then those rare, defining moments when the clouds part, angel choirs sing, and you know you will never forget what happened. Sometimes those special moments involve fiber …

I can’t ever remember not knowing how to sew. My mother grew up in the Great Depression, and she could make anything out of fabric - except shoes, as our family joke goes. I watched my mother sew curtains and dresses and decided to make ball gowns for my Barbies, then jumpers for myself. I was officially in love with fabric! Good thing, since folds and bolts, thread and notions covered most of the horizontal surfaces, plus all the nooks and crannies, of the upstairs of our home.

When I was 10 years old, my sister was studying interior design, and she came home from college with a piece of white cotton that she had silk-screened with green and blue. (Cue the angel choirs above.) Something about that glimpse of surface design turned on a light in my eyes, and lo, these many years later, it hasn’t dimmed. I realized at that moment the potential for fabric beyond clothing, and I knew that I wanted to “design” fabric, whatever that meant, when I grew up.

When I was a young mother, Jean Ray Laury was my hero. I admired her creations while I managed to amass quite a collection of fiber art books, magazines and supplies. It was a golden age of art and craft, and I sewed, painted fabric and taught myself batik. Then I had to get a “real” job!

Years later, I landed a dream job with a Birmingham publishing company designing and writing about cross stitch and sewing. When the company added a quilting magazine, I found my bliss again. I have been designing and making folk-art and abstract art quilts ever since. There’s something about the quilt format (Could it be fiber, over fiber, over fiber?) that calls to me every day with its siren song.

I also love fiber collage, thread painting, wet felting, needle felting, fiber-reactive dyeing, painting and stamping fabric, photo transfer, hand embroidery, and using almost any recycled object I can tack to a quilt. Add some jewelry making, purse making, teaching (Which I love!), volunteering for the arts in my little town of Senoia, and you have a picture of my art life. Three years ago I helped start an art quilt group, The Southside Irregulars, to aid and abet me in my fiber adventures.

These are my “marvelous moments in fiber.” This blog is for all of us, and I would love to know the fiber beginnings of each and every SEFAA member. If you are willing to share something about yourself, please e-mail it to me so I can put it in the blog. We would also love to know of any shows, sources for fiber goodies, and cool techniques you can share. Really, anything fiber-related is fair game. Please be sure to include any sources and credit where it is due.

I hope to see everyone this Friday at the monthly SEFAA meeting, and I look forward to meeting you!

Claudia Wood 


  1. I forgot to tell you that my e-mail is ceebwood@bellsouth.net.
    Please send stuff!


  2. If you learn to spin and weave you'll just about have all of the fiber techniques covered!