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SOAR Welcomes Fiber Artist Laura Lawrence

Laura Lawrence, Fiber Artist,  My Dancing ThreadsWe are so happy to include two artists this week in the Fiber Artists category at SOAR. There is so much beautiful fiber art being produced here and this category has been sadly under-represented, but now we’re beginning to see some of the diversity of Southern Oregon’s offerings in this wonderful genre. Laura Lawrence’s My Dancing Threads is a great example of this work, and we’re delighted to welcome her to SOAR’s online community of southern Oregon artists.

Here’s a little background on the artist and her work, from her website:

“PAINTING WITH YARN” or how I got where I am:

Many Threads of Life Come Together

While the outward expression of my adventure into the fashion design world appears to be recent and with no logical origin (I bought my first knitting machine in December 2001), the steps up to this point can be traced to girlhood.

As a dancer, I loved working in the costume room during rehearsal breaks, sometimes being entrusted to help create my own costumes. Then, as a secretary in a law firm that displayed monumental abstract expressionist paintings, I felt empowered to use color without fear. Many of my designs link directly back to the movement of dance and/or the use of color and texture purely for their own sakes, with no regard for the fads of mass-produced garments. In fact, I deliberately hold back from studying fashion trends.

In the 1970s, my co-workers spent their lunch hours considerable money!” doing needlepoint kits. Since I was never a “kit person,” but saw the potential for mixing the vibrantly colored yarns into something of my own, I coined the phrase, “Painting with Yarn” and designed my own needlepoint canvases.

In 2000, the “digital” quality of needlepoint canvas (working in the constraints of lots of little square holes) became more “analog” when I took a class in tapestry weaving. Having my piece “Command Performance” (pictured center below) published in the Handweavers Guild of America a quarterly magazine Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot for a year was both an honor and an encouragement to further explore the possibilities of painting with yarn.

Finally, a beautiful machine-knit ensemble which an English friend made for me introduced me to the craft I now call my full time business. Since one of anything never seems to be enough, I now work on three different machines–each having its own special abilities to produce the unique designs. The unusual yarns I use speak for themselves. They tell me how to make the person wearing them join in the celebration of color, texture, line, and movement, which they evoke.

Soon “painting with yarn” branched into two basic directions in my collection. One is the classic look using finer yarns such as rayon bouclé in my ikat abstracts, the other is more funky, using novelty yarns to create abstract art to wear.

When I was invited to sell my work in a local show in 2003, I needed a name for my business. My “Command Performance” tapestry launched a “name my business” thought process. The name My Dancing Threads came to me in the middle of the night (really!) and I knew that was it.

Since that first show, the road has been one of growing, learning, great expectations, many surprises, sometimes fun, sometimes grueling, but always an adventure. The fellow artisans I’ve met and worked with have become a second family: full of support, good advice, good humor, and ready to say, “well done.” The journey continues to inspire me to seek new ideas, and to have a good time doing it.


Learn more about Laura and her dancing threads by visiting her listing for a complete collection of web links and contact information. Please share!

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