Monday, April 13, 2015

Member Profile: Serena Brooks

Serena Brooks
Los Angeles, CA

1.  Describe the work that you make.  I grew up in the 60's and 70's so I'm drawn to anything bold and graphic -- from art and architecture to home furnishings, color palettes, and TV and movie credits.  My art reflects the influences of that time period.

2.  Do you have a signature style? In addition to being influenced by the era, my contemporary style has been clearly influenced by my parents.  My father was an ultra contemporary, mid-century architect and my mother was an accomplished seamstress who made our clothes and my father's 3-piece suits!  Although my techniques vary, bold design, geometric shapes and saturated color permeate my art.

3.  Favorite color palette?  I have to force myself to NOT to use complementary blue/green and red/orange, which must clearly be my favorite palette!

4.  How do you work?  Do you piece, raw edge applique, fuse, glue, etc.?  I'm most creative when I alternate between piecing and fusing.  I also paint, dye, knit and needlepoint so that I can be cross-training my brain and hands all the time.  I also like to be working on a few pieces at different stages of development at any given time, so that I can take a break, for example, from designing a piece up on the wall, to something else like quilting or trying out a new color palette with paints.

Aleph Bet  2014 55x41

5.  Where do you find your inspiration?  So many places... my eyes are always wide open which constantly annoys my two teenagers.  They are known to complain about my taking detours to look at a building or making a dead-stop in front of a greeting card that caught my eye.  However, I have to admit that my main source of inspiration is watching what happens on my design wall when two pieces of fabric or two remnants from other projects accidentally collide.  Many of my pieces begin when I'm not even TRYING to be inspired, I just notice what's going on up on the wall!  I recently squared up a quilt, and instead of throwing the edges away, I pinned them up on my design wall... and behold, a quilt idea surfaced -- loud and clear!

6.  Do you enter your work in shows?  List your top 3 exhibits that you work has been shown in, and what year.  Yes, I do enter shows and I occasionally have my own solo shows.  Top 3 exhibits:  International Quilt Festival Houston -- 2008, 2010 and 2014; QUILTCON  2013 and 2015; AQS Paducah  2011 and 2013.
Stitched Paint 2014  82x61

7.  Describe your studio space?  I am fortunate to have a very large room just outside my main house, as my studio.  I have a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling foam core-covered design wall, which is covered with both my current piece, and also lots of inspirational photos and drawings as well as notes, for future projects.  I also usually have a few free-standing foam core pieces around the sides of the studio with other projects pinned up, that I can move closer or further back, as I'm working on them.  I have my sewing machine always set up, either in the drop down quilting position into my sewing table, or up ready to piece.  My machine FACES my main design wall so I'm always looking at what I'm working on while I sew.  A long table on risers stands perpendicular to my machine table -- half is a cutting surface and half an ironing surface.  My threads, notions and smaller cutting mats hang on a nearby wall so that I have easy access to them as need be.  My fabrics are stored in covered bins:  One group of bins contain a combination of non-cotton fabrics and cotton prints, sorted by color family; one group of bins contain Kona cotton solids, sorted by color family; and then I have one large tray of pre-fused fabrics sorted by color family.  Paints, dye supplies, fusibles and books are stored in a closet until I need to pull them out to work on a given project.
Mid-Century Modern 2013  45x78

8.  How do you balance your life between art, family, friends, etc?  I find that I HAVE to make art every day, so there's my balance.  If I take good care of me, then I can be much more available to my family and friends, and it's really important to me to be present and available to them!
Math Homework 1  2012 36x30

9.  What other professional organizations are you affiliated with? IQA, AQS, LA Modern Quilt Guild
Math Homework II  2012  36x30

10.  When did you make your first art quilt?  Year.  2004

and Serena occasionally teaches, when asked.

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