It’s been awhile now since I had the pleasure of visiting Amy Putansu‘s Weaving Studio. Way back on a snowy day in January I spent time sipping tea, visiting with Amy and learning about her creative space. She has converted a former garage into her primary studio and shares a little here with us about her background in textiles and teaching. These photos are not styled so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
HKPS:: When did you realize you were an artist?
Amy:: I guess I started to suspect that I had strengths in artistic endeavors when I was a kid. I was drawn to creative pursuits and performed better in those areas than traditional studies. I was very active in theatre and art classes both in school and after school community programs and private lessons.
HKPS:: What materials you work with?
AP:: As a textile artist I work with yarns, fibers and fabrics. Especially silks of all types, my favorite type being raw silk. I will also admit that I like working with polyester. The thermo plastic quality make some special effects possible. I also use dyes, particularly natural dyes although sometimes synthetic dyes when necessary. HKPS:: Is making art your primary source of income? Do you have a partner who helps to support you?
Amy:: My primary source of income is my full time faculty position at Haywood Community College. It is hard to sum up my studio time because it is very erratic. I steel all the time I can on weekends, holidays, and snow days. The most productive time for my own work is school vacations- these I almost always dedicate to studio work.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
Amy:: I have a small studio in my home, large enough for one floor loom, a desk and work table and four tall cabinets, and this is somewhat cramped. It is storage that is lacking- for finished work mostly. I can do dye work outdoors on my covered porch.
Amy:: I have had many studios over the years, both professional and private. I have had spaces that worked well and ones that did not. This space is very conducive to working primarily because it is open to the main living space, and has good natural light as the whole house does. It is tiny compared to the professional studio I once operated, but still functions relative to my current scale of production.
How much thought do you give to your artistic body of work in terms of historic value and the overall legacy you will leave behind?
Amy:: Legacy and historic value only enters my mind as it relates to archival materials and lightfastness of dyes. This is an area I have had to become more serious about since moving from ‘fashion’ to wall pieces. This is a concern for textile art especially and with museum interest in my work it is even more important that I take this seriously. In Part II I share tips from Amy on time management, storage and art studio organizing. You can also see her work online or if your in Asheville contact Amy and see her work in person! For those of you who are fiber artists, Amy is teaching a workshop on silk degumming in Canada this fall through Maiwa School of Textiles. Do you have any questions you want me to ask Amy next week? If so please leave them in the comments below!
*The idea for the Inside the Artist Studio series began while attending an art retreat where I curiously observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. I’m very interested in sharing how organizing affects the artist’s creative process. Some systems and order are vital to our creative PLAY and learning to find a balance that works to enhance your creativity is what I hope to share with you through these interviews.
Is there a particular artist whose ‘Tool kit’ you would like to see featured? Leave a comment below and let me know!