Viewing nature has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Leaf shapes jump out and say “Print me!”

sue beevers headshotFranki Kohler

By: Franki Kohler– QCN
Date: 03/11/2010


I’m enchanted by the simple shapes of nature -- a single ginkgo or dusty miller leaf or the drama of a Woodwardia fern can be the starting point for my art. I use sun print, cyanotype print, photography and/or fused appliqué to start. My challenge then is to apply threadpainting and quilting lines that enhance the image. I often use beads.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The description above is where I am today. Here’s a brief telling of my journey in getting there:
After constructing traditional quilts for over 20 years I longed for a dramatic shift of focus. Lucky me, I’m alive during a time when choices abound for women:  hems of any length are okay; pants dominate the wardrobe; remaking a career from scratch….all these things are possibilities, even imperatives for some, and all are accepted by society. It seems natural to me that these new freedoms spilled over into the renaissance of quilt making that I’m thrilled to be a part of. Quilts have come off the bed and are being hung on the wall as art.
It was clear to me that I needed to start taking classes to build my tool kit of skills. I committed to this goal with my usual focus and determination. Before I knew it, I was dropping my feed dogs and free-motion quilting with ease; threadpainting was thrilling; bobbin work with yarns and ribbons doable. With just a few new skills, the possibilities became truly limitless. So….now what?
In the summer of 2004 a friend handed me her current issue of Quilting Arts magazine. It is no exaggeration on my part to say that reading that issue changed my life. The article “Postcards With an Edge” by Cate Prato was my springboard to transformation. After reading her article about a group of on-line fiber artists who were creating and exchanging fiber postcards through the mail, I simply could not get to the computer fast enough.  With help from the moderator of Art2Mail I started Postmark’d Art. This is when I learned about cyanotype sun prints and prints made with Setacolor paints.
Viewing nature has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Leaf shapes jump out and say “Print me!” My focus now is on the inter-play of the shape I’ve borrowed from nature and the line that I create with thread. I want the two statements to speak to each other in bold and in gentle tones. If their conversation is harmonious, I believe the viewer will hear one thing at a distance and something quite new when drawn near.

sue beevers headshot

Franki Kohler, Fiber Artist
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