Asheville Fiber Artist Bonnie Lucas – Inside the Artist’s Studio
UPDATE: Bonnie will be here on Saturday, August 18, 2017 for art demo!
Local fiber artist and award-winning quilter, Bonnie Lucas specializes in creating quilted wall hangings using an ancient Cherokee Indian technique called plant or leaf pounding.
So how is flower or plant pounding really done?
Bonnie explains it best…
”This is a process of infusing the actual pigment from plants into the fibers of fabric. The basic plant pounding technique is actually a fairly simple one…you take fresh actual flowers, leaves and other natural greenery; even weeds and with a hammer literally pound the plant’s natural dyes and colors into a light-colored fabric backing.”
Each one of her quilted designs is a truly unique creation formed by the transferred pigments from each type of plant that she uses.
Bonnie uses watercolor pens to hand trace each design outline and then finishes it off with an overlapping machine stitch technique that applies textures for a more natural and organic feel.
Inside the Artist’s Studio with Bonnie Lucas
In this post, Mountain Made gallery is happy to share Bonnie thoughts and artistic viewpoints as part of our continuing series “Inside the Artist’s Studio.”
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an artist…even as a small child.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
I watched my mother draw and sew and I just fascinated with the whole process. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to draw or sketch. And I started sewing at nine years old.
How long does it take you to create one of your pieces?
Depending on the complexity of a given piece, it usually takes about 10 to 12 hours. This doesn’t include hunting or collecting up any of the plants or flowers I want to use.
What is your schedule like when you are working?
I do a lot of my actual plant pounding in the spring and summer months when the [plant] pigments are best. Then the rest of the year, I can work finishing up my prepared fabric pieces. I love to work on several pieces at the same time.
What would you say is your interesting quirk while working?
Keeping time with the music while using my sewing machine to quilt. I didn’t know I did this until my family pointed it out to me!
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your artwork?
I definitely use nature to inspire me. I always keep my eyes open for interesting plants…I have even been known to suddenly stop my car and get out just to gather up some particularly nice looking weeds!
What do you like to do when you are not working on your art?
I love to hike, learn new quilting and art techniques and going to art and quilt shows.
What was one the most surprising things you learned while creating your art?
Using Inktenses ™ [a type of watercolor pencil] were an eye opener for me! There is so much you can do with them and I was able to take my planting poundings to the next level.
How many pieces do you think you have created?
I have kept count and I have created over 300 different pieces so far.
Which pieces are your favorites?
I actually like my kudzu plant poundings the best. I wanted to show that something beautiful could be made out of something ugly as a weed like kudzu.
How do you decide on which ideas to develop?
I love to experiment and try different techniques together.
Do you hear from your fans? What kinds of things do they say?
Sometimes. They laugh and say they can’t look at a plant the same way as they used too without thinking of it being a “plant pounding”.
What do you think makes good art?
Catching the eye from afar, then drawing the person in for a closer, more detailed look.
Well, we hope we have given you a good view from afar of Bonnie and her artwork. We now invite you to come by Mountain Made, a downtown Asheville art gallery for a closer and more detailed look at these wonderful wall hangings.