Meet Judith Trager, Craftsy Art Quilting Instructor
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The inspiration from my work really comes from nature. It really comes from the world around me. Using natural materials is a big part of my work. And really, a lot of that were things learned from childhood: making leaf prints, painting up leaves and pushing them down to use them as stamps. So I just go out there and look around there in different seasons to try to find out what’s out there that I might be able to use.
I print simple desgns. I like the shapes because then I get to into them with the stitching, and make the stitching another layer, another mark on the fabric. I use the stitching as a mark. If it’s fabric I love it. I’m not so interested in making things in certain fabrics because they don’t fit into the designs that I’m looking for. Although, since I’ve been working on the Canyon series, I find that I’m using rougher materials, less refined stuff. The rocks that I’m making, those sorts of things are really different. They reguire that kind of texture.
I buy fabric whenever I see it and it appeals to me, anywhere I might be. I’ve bought it in the bazaars in Istanbul, I’ve bought it in the markets of Europe, fancy fabric stores in Paris. I’ve bought it wherever. I buy it from my local Jo-Anns.
There is a sort of a bookcase thing that I built to put boxes of fabric in. I just organize everything according to color. I really leave the thread according to the spectrum. I want to see it all the time. I don’t want to go hunting for a particular color of yellow that’s in a drawer someplace, when the color of yellow could be on the wall, where I can see all the colors of yellow at once. Then I can pick out the exact right one at that same moment.
I like building layers. I like starting with a complex background, and then I like to add layer upon layer upon layer. Sometimes I’ll have five or six layers of different kinds of silk screen, stamping, two or three kinds of stitching. And sometimes I’ll actually do some fancy threadwork that’s laid on top of all of it. It’s just another tool for creating something different. It’s important to me that my work is part of what is used as an example for the change for the homely quilt to the fine art piece that goes in somebody’s living room.