Thursday, February 26, 2015

Member Profile: Cuauhtemoc Kish

Cuauhtémoc’s Journey to Sewing Machine Stardom and Thread Fame

     My initial journey into fabric art actually took form at a place called Ayers Rock (Uluru) in central Australia. It was at this hot and bug-infested location where I managed to catch my breath after suffering the first part of a whirlwind vacation that was moving so fast I had lost all contact with real time.

     After a bumpy, wild ride on a camel near the infamous Red Rock, I happened upon a souvenir shop that featured fabric art by a heralded textile artist who boasted the moniker, Caroline Sharkey.  After my purchase, I realized that Caroline was in residence at the artist-in-residence gallery near this very shop.  While observing this talented quilter I made a vow to myself that I would learn how to create fabric art masterpieces, just like my newly discovered mentor.

     When I returned home to San Diego I took my first-ever sewing class in an attempt to master a simple straight line on a sewing machine. I was awarded a “Certificate of Course Completion” in Sewing Fundamentals in 2012. Following this course I was introduced to my second mentor, Karen Cunagin. She took my hand and instructed me in the basics of fabric art, which laid the foundation to the blissful anguish and the many joys of quilting. 

     While I’m still looking for my signature style I tend to enjoy bold colors (reds and purples) and challenging fabrics. Most of my fabric art is rendered using a fused appliqué technique, while inspiration comes at odd times, but mostly during a very sound and uninterrupted sleep. 

     In 2014 I had the audacity to enter several national and local shows and had some 17 pieces juried into these exhibitions (Chandler’s Vision Gallery, La Conner Quilt Museum and the Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza XXI, to name a few).
Fiesta. 46x26.  Fused applique, machine quilted, silks

     My studio space is small (a corner of the bedroom that my dog, Yatzachi, allows me to inhabit), but it affords me ample space to conduct quilting business. And, yes, it is a business; I’ve had the good fortune to sell my work and almost show a profit on my latest Federal Tax Form. 

     Like many fabric artists I have become somewhat obsessed with quilting (Admittedly, it’s really about purchasing fabric), but many who know me think that’s not a bad thing. Some members of my immediate family have blatantly opined that it’s much better for the world if I confine myself within my studio than venture out into the outside world where I may cause havoc and mayhem (mostly to myself).

     Like so many before me have said, quilting has opened the door to meeting diverse and wonderful quilters and some very accomplished artists. Almost all are kind, caring, and generous individuals who respect the work and effort that it takes to finish a project. Currently I am a member of SAQA, Visions Art Museum (San Diego), Canyon Quilters, American Quilter’s Society, and a local group called the Sew ’n Sews. All of these groups and organizations support me on many different levels. And I would not be the fabric artist I am today without their support, as well as their truthful critiques along the way.
Birdman 17x18. Fused applique, machine quilted, silks and hand-dyes

     Although I have made progress I have still much to learn. After returning from a trip to Mexico in mid-February I discovered the email news from Martha Sielman regarding my JAM application; I had been rejected. The JAM Review Committee found my work to be “fun and enjoyable” but suggested a more cohesive body of work (I’m not certain I know what that means?). 

     However, I do know that my journey into the world of fabric art has allowed me to express myself visually and artistically. And although I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to cultivate a cohesive JAM-like voice, it doesn’t make much difference to me because right now, at this very moment, I’m still enjoying the journey and having a very good time.

Visit Cuauhtermoc's website


Rebecca said...

Forgot a letter!

Charles said...

Nice amigo...thanks for sharing your quilting journey...and you're does keep you out of trouble and off the streets (for the most part!) However I am a bit concerned that your picture is beginning to appear on milk cartons here in GDL... abrazzos! P.S. I'm starting a Mexican rock collection for you to take back to San Diego on your next trip...