Reading what somebody else has written about you is a bit like reading your own epitaph. Except you're still here! The whole process can be a little scary. But I always appreciate the chance to explain what my work is about to various arts publications. It's a good discipline to condense thoughts down to a certain number of words or meet other publication parameters. Many thanks to Artsyshark for this promo piece in May of 2018.
Artist Bobbi Baugh knows that everything has an inner story, one that isn’t visible from the exterior. Through her textile collaged quilts, she works to express forces beneath the surface.
Life experiences can come together in unexpected ways. As an undergraduate art student over forty years ago, I concentrated in watercolor and drawing. In my career before being a full-time artist, I worked in the printing industry, surrounded by the rhythms of platemaking, pulling an image, re-inking and printing again. And, from the time I created homemade A-line skirts on my mother’s sewing machine as a teen, I have enjoyed sewing. Now, I create textile collaged works and art quilts, using all of those experiences.
Everybody has a story. Every thing has a story. Whether we are looking at a person, or a structure, or a part of the natural world, what we see is not all there is. There is always more going on. That’s what interests me.
I’m intrigued with depicting a visible object along with the suggestion of its inner reality in the same composition. Looking at a group of houses, we see only the outside walls. But there are rich and varied lives within. Looking at a natural scene, we see the visible parts of plants and trees. But there are forcesand patterns playing out beneath the surface at the same time.
Looking at a person, we see just the exterior. But there is a journey, and there are dreams and memories, inside and at work. My artmaking methods are a perfect fit with this interest.
Every piece I create has four component phases. First is concept and composition. I work out ideas in my sketchbook to explore visual arrangements of my ideas. I enjoy working in a size of 36-48” in either dimension, so I frequently mock up the composition on paper at full size. It’s a test of the concept, and the beginning of a pattern for creating and assembling the parts.
Second, I create the fabrics that will be used in the composition. I begin with blank cotton muslin and blank sheer polyester. The fabrics are printed by hand as monotypes, or as relief prints, or handpainted, stenciled, stamped, or resist-imaged. I frequently mix up techniques on each fabric piece. I create fabric for a specific work. Generally, there is fabric left over. So, the leftover pieces from previous pieces may also be used in a new piece. My stash of printed fabrics is a favorite resource.
Third, I collage. I use acrylic-based medium for collage so that the artwork is archival and everything is compatible with acrylic paint. Sheer pieces are collaged to a heavier backing to be stabilized. Cut pieces are collaged as applique.
Finally, I machine stitch. I use stitching as a method of joining sections together. And on almost every piece I add patterns of machine stitching for texture and depth. The finishing is also done by machine stitch; sewn strip binding is turned for a finished edge, and the assembled work is fabric-backed with a rod pocket for hanging presentation.
I have created and experimented with other artmaking methods. Working with textiles and collage is where I find the best expression for my ideas and where I am most at home.