My quilts offer an opportunity to create statements about the world we live in on a large scale. I have always had a deep concern for the planet and all the people, animals and plants living on it, yet it is only recently that I have begun to address the mass extinction of animals by portraying them in my art quilts. Some quilts also look at the contradictory messages our culture feeds us as children and adults. Whatever the subject matter I use my art quilts to voice my concerns about the world around me.
I have chosen to use vintage quilt tops because I find the old fabrics and patterns in them endlessly varied and beautiful. On an emotional level I appreciate the abandoned nature of these quilts, for someone had spent hours embroidering or hand-piecing hundreds of bits of fabric and yet never finished their project. Most quilts have spent decades in storage and are now given new life off the bed and hung on the wall as an art quilt. Symbolically quilts make me think of mothers, grandmothers, home, safety, and protection. I like to think of sending that sentiment out into the world as a kind of prayer of protection for animals, and the humans sharing the planet.
Laurel Izard’s constant refrain is, “Gotta make stuff”, and is an award-winning artist who exhibits her artwork throughout the country. She currently lives and works in Michigan City with her artist husband Edwin Shelton and three cats. She received a BA from Northern Illinois University, with majors in art and anthropology, and a MFA in ceramics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After collage Izard and her husband started a ceramic business called Izwin, and they produced and wholesaled colorful whimsical tabletop wares to galleries, boutiques, and department stores throughout the country. After twenty-three years of self-employment, she taught art in numerous after-school and summer programs. Her art-teaching career culminated in nine years as art instructor at Marquette High School. Currently she can follow her creative path full-time. Her philosophy as an artist and teacher is that an integral part of being human is to be creative and continues to teach others how to discover their inner artistic resources.
© Laurel Izard