Lisa Call -Investigating Boundaries in Abstract Contemporary Textile Art

When thinking about a title for this interview, I came across the  title of one of Lisa’s 2008 exhibitions, “Investigating Boundaries”.

In describing her work, Lisa has used terms like abstract contemporary textile art and textile painting.  It is almost 2011 and  Lisa Call continues to investigate the boundaries,  her work is expanding the  boundaries between  traditional quilting and art.

Lisa has described  her work in this way,“I design and create vivid geometric abstract contemporary quilts. Some people call these things art quilts, or studio quilts, or fiber art, or studio art quilts or any number of other terms. I prefer the term “quilts” but it conjures up images of our grandmother’s quilts.

And while traditional quilts are beautiful, they aren’t what I make, so I’ve added the term contemporary to better define my choice of art media. Whatever you want to call them, quilts are my passion. My goal is to become the very best artist possible and so I spend most of my free time making art..”

I think you are going to enjoy the observations and insights of Lisa Call.

1-Your work has received so much recognition, what lead to your choice of fiber as the creative medium for your art ?
I came to making art at time when I was making traditional quilts. They naturally fell together. I have explored other mediums but they don’t provide the same tactile experience that fabric does – direct manipulation of the materials with my hands. I miss the hands-on process when painting or drawing. It just doesn’t feel the same. I also think fabric is much more flexible and versatile than many other choices, something I appreciate. I use exclusively 100% cotton woven fabric and love the inherent grid in the woven structure of the material. It appeals to me on a basic level that I can’t necessarily explain, it just feels right.
2-What keeps you inspired and motivated?
I love creating, I love sewing, I love writing about my art and I love sharing my art with others. That keeps me motivated to keep making art, to keep on blogging and to keep looking for exhibits.
I’ve try to appreciate the world around me and to take several inspiration dates every month, be it to museums, galleries, performances or hikes outdoors to enjoy nature. Getting out into the world and experiencing different things inspires my creative thinking.

3–Who or what have had the most influence on your work?
It wasn’t until I took an intensive 7 day workshop with Nancy Crow in 1999 that I found a quilt making methodology that was right for me. With improvisational piecing techniques I am able to refine my design throughout the entire construction process, each seam sewn and each shape cut requires me to consider the proportions and design of the entire composition. In that way Nancy has been the biggest influence on my art.
In addition her professionalism and motivation are inspirational.
4-Are there any contemporary quilters or quilt artists that you specifically admire?
Nancy Crow, Sue Benner, Deidre Adams
5- How has the recognition and acclaim effected you as an artist?
My successes have given me confidence, which allows me to trust myself more. Paradoxically, the more recognition I receive, the less I look for and need it. Although I am always honored and humbled when I do receive acclaim.
I find that more and more, inner strength is what fuels me, but that inner strength was build upon previous accomplishments.

6-What have been your proudest accomplishments to date?
Having my artwork printed on the cover of the Quilt National catalog was pretty cool.
7-What do you do for fun [besides quilting]?
Hang with my kids (they are the best teenagers ever), yoga (it’s my sanity and serenity), reading, gardening, walking, hiking, theater, ballet, cooking, dining out, enjoying time with friends.

8-Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently
I recently got a new kitten. Pretty much everything she does is funny.
9-How have you handled the business side of your career?
I’m very focused and take it seriously. I created systems to keep it running smoothly. I write about the business of being an artists on
10- What advise would you give an aspiring quilter just starting out?
Be true to yourself and find a way of creating that makes you happy and the feels right.
11-How would you describe your quilting style?
Abstract contemporary textile paintings. I strive for simplicity and spareness.
12-Describe yourself in 5 words.
Creative, Focused, Dedicated, Quiet, Caring
13-What have been your biggest obstacles in achieving your success?

14-What do you think has contributed the most to your achieving your sucess?
My energy, drive and motivation. I put in the time needed to become really good at what I do.

Here’s Lisa on the internet:


Published by Barbara Harms Fiber Art & More

Barbara Harms-Up Close and Personal I've been a painter most of my life. When I was introduced to quilting, I fell in love, jumping in with both feet. I loved quilting, but began to miss the creative freedom painting offered. Then, I discovered mixed media art quilting, I was finally home. My Process & Approach For me, it's the process of creating that holds the strongest attraction. I love starting with a tiny seed of an idea; vague and blurred around the edges, then I follow where it leads. My style is fairly loose and instinctual. I don't a great deal of pre-planning.The creative choices are made as I work on a piece, are based on my gut feelings at the time. This can lead to quite a few changes in direction. The outcome can come as a surprise. I love that element of surprise. Sometimes everything just comes together & I think that this is one of my better ones. I can’t wait to show someone. I feel like a six year old, running home from school, a drawing in hand, excited to show Mom. At those times I'm smiling like the Cheshire cat.

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