About the Artist
I was one of those creative kids who "couldn't draw", but was always drawn to creative expression. I took to the classic needle-arts as a teen, photography in the 70's, and knitting in the 80's. I watched my sister quilting in the summer of 1990 and thought it looked pretty boring.... until I tried it. Initially content to be one link in a long chain of traditional quiltmakers, and pleased with the modest attention and awards my traditional quilts attracted, I nevertheless wanted to venture outside the "rulebook". Exploration began, starting with an autobiographical woven-strip collage, titled "Women Don't Grow Older, Just a Deeper Shade of Red"....
....and continued in classes with several prominent quiltartists, each of whom contributed technically or inspirationally to the evolutionary "soup" from which the work emerged. Several derivative works resulted from a week-long workshop with artist, Nancy Crow. THE DESPITE SERIES, were some of the first pieces I felt were close to "original" from start to finish, and were also very exciting and satisfying, rooted in traditional quiltmaking but products of my heart and imagination. I resumed shooting photographs again, and the COLLAGE SERIES reflected the new visions that photos generated, especially the doors and windows I was drawn to.
Looking for some diversion in 2003, I made several quilts I call COLOR BLOCKS. These were fun, improvisational pieces to design and to piece. I continue to add to this group, first with an enormous bed quilt in 2003, then with "Don't Look Back" (2004) and "Recurrents" (2006). In 2005 came the CARPE DIEM SERIES, the original inspiration for which were carpet advertisements. BRICKYARD (2006) pursues even further my fascination with the abstract nature of architectural line and form, which can also be seen in many of the photos I make. I retired from full-time employment in 2008 and am now working on COLLAGE pieces again and having more fun than I remember having when I was stealing hours from busy weeks to work in the studio.
Fiber compositions satisfy most of my creative itches, and also provide a place of retreat, spontaneity, and healing -- the moment in which a composition "comes together", seeming of its own will, provides an addictive thrill, a sense of connectedness, and a feeling of emotional and spiritual wholeness. The first review of a good photo does the same -- everything seems to have come together. I want to think the work is "IMPORTANT"; the truth is probably that it is important only to me, and that's just fine.
Quilt Exhibits and Awards
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts Alternative Museum Shop, Wilmington, DE, 2010
Fresh Dimensions, Latimer Quilt and Textile Center, Tillamook, Oregon, 2009.
Fiber for the Imagination, University of Connecticut Art Gallery, Stamford, CT, 2008.
Fiber Revolution In Africa
Art Concentrated: a big show of petite art
“Blocks, Strips, Strings, and Half-Squares: Quilted Art at the Library”, Tompkins Co. Library Invitational, Ithaca, NY, 2008.A Personal Landscape: Contemporary Art Quilts, Tyler Art Gallery at the State University of New York at Oswego, 2008.
Fiber Revolution on the Riverfront, The Riverfront Renaissance Center for the
Arts, Millville NJ, 2008.
Fiber Revolution; Textures Gallery at Artspace; Scottsdale, AZ, 2008.
Fiber Revolution; Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck, MI, 2007.
Cezanne III & IV; Community Arts of Elmira, Elmira NY, 2007 & 2008.
Fiber Revolution: Quilts as Art; National Quilt Museum of the United States; Paducah, KY, 2007-08.
Art Quilt Alliance of New York, Special Exhibitions, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.
Fiber Revolution: In Abstraction, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN, 2006.
"Melissa Craven Fowler, a Retrospective", trunk show, Schweinfurth Memorial Arts Center, Auburn, NY, 2006.
Fiber Revolution, Christina Geis Gallery, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ, 2006.
Fiber Revolution on the Riverfront, The Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts, Millville NJ, 2006.
Open Hearts, Helping Hands, Art Walk Showcasing Art Quilts, Friends of Fiber Art, Lowell MA, 2006.
Art Quilts at the Whistler, Lowell, MA, 2006.
Art Quilts: New England/New York, Brush Art Gallery and Studios, Lowell MA, 2006.
Visual Voice: Transforming Silence Through Contemporary Quilted Art, on view at "Quilts for Change", Cintas Center - Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, 2006.
National Small Art Quilt Works, Main Street Gallery, Groton, NY, 2004 & 2006.
Fiber Revolution at the Slater Museum, 2006.
Nudes, Nature, Nurture: special exhibition, Quilters Heritage Celebration, Lancaster, PA. 2006.
Fiber Revolution: Renewal, Johnson & Johnson Headquarters, New Brunswick, NJ. 2006.
Open Hearts, Helping Hands; Gallery North on the Square, Bloomington, IN, 2006.
and Soul of Quilting, Anderson Arts Center, Kenosha, WI, 2006.
Handcrafted, Rocky Mount Arts Center, NC, 2006.
Nearness of You, Memory and Commemoration in Quilts, Special Exhibit, Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, 2006; Quilt Fest of New Jersey, 2006
“QuiltArt @10, a Retrospective”
“Carpe Diem” Fiber Edge Special Exhibition
Fibers: New Forms, Steamboat Springs Arts Council, Bliss Center
for the Arts at the Depot, Steamboat Springs, CO, 2005.
“Quilts = Art = Quilts”: Schweinfurth Memorial Arts Center, Auburn, NY; 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001 (2nd place color use, 3rd place traditional), 2002 (Judge’s Choice), 2003, 2004, 2005.
“Quilts of Central New York”: Avenue Art Gallery, Endicott, NY, January 2004 & 2005.
“This Land is My Land—Quilted Landscapes”: Tompkins Co. Library Invitational, Ithaca, NY, 2004.
“Fiber Edge Sampler”, Special Exhibition: Pacific International Quilt Festival, 2004.
“Old Masters, New Masters”
“Eyes on Fabric”: Cooperative Gallery 213, Binghamton, NY, January
“Windows of Opportunity”: Clinton House Artspace, Ithaca, NY, April 2002, solo show.
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