Interview with Bobbi Baugh

“Sometimes You Can’t See In” 33.5” x47.5” 2018, copyright Bobby Baugh

Italiano (Italian)

Bobbi Baugh creates textile collaged works and art quilts from her studio in DeLand, Florida. A life-long art creator, Bobbi has focused on textiles since 2010, exhibiting her work in juried festivals and quilt exhibitions. Bobbi’s work was included in the 2016 “Immigration Stories” SAQA exhibit at GWU Textile Museum in Washington DC. In 2014 She received First Place in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum Evolutions show, earning a solo exhibit there in 2015. Her work was also included in SAQA traveling exhibitions: Balancing Act (2015), Piecing Together a Changing Planet (2014-2016) and Redirecting the Ordinary (2014-2016.) Throughout 2018, Bobbi created a body of work entitled “Home is What You Remember” for solo exhibition this past November at Arts on Douglas Gallery of Fine Art in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Galleries of Bobbi’s work and her blog can be found at

www.bobbibaughstudio.com.

“Lillian’s Expectations”, 41”h x 30”w, 2014, copyright Bobbi Baugh

I often ask this question to the artists I have the pleasure of interviewing: why did you choose textile materials to express your artistic creativity?

My interest in art quilts has been an evolution. As an undergraduate art major, I pursued a general studio program, with an emphasis on watercolor painting. Upon graduation, I had a 30+year career in commercial printing, so I was used to the concepts and rhythms of printing and printmaking. While working in the printing industry, I pursued my interest in artwork as a sideline, and created three dimensional fabric and clay sculptures. It was around 2010 that I discovered a group of fabric artists nearby and began participating in their meetings and workshops. Artmaking-as-quilter became a way to put together things that had already interested me: painting, printmaking, and working with fabric.

“Because That’s WhereItAllBegins”
46”h x 57.5”w, 2018, copyright Bobbi Baugh

“Because That’s Where It All Begins – detail”
46”h x 57.5”w, 2018, copyright Bobbi Baugh

Is there a particular experience in life that has influenced your way of working?

Commercial art and graphic design may seem antithetical to creating original artwork. But, I know that many of the skills I developed through my professional career have been internalized as an independent artist. In commercial design, one’s task is to fulfill someone else’s communicative purpose. But there is always a purpose – a brochure isn’t created just for fun. It’s created for information, or to create a call-to-action or to enhance an image or idea. Similarly, when I begin to create my own work, the beginning of the process is to determine my purpose. What am I trying to communicate? What do I want the viewer to feel or think about? The works are not random expressions. Additionally, I enjoy a disciplined work routine, the challenge of deadlines and the challenge of specific production constraints. (Having to create work in a specified size for an exhibit, for example.) I am serious about the time I spend in the studio; this is my full-time occupation.

“All That’s Gone Before
33”h x 42”w, 2018 copyright Bobby Baugh

In studio creating “All That’s Gone Before
copyright Bobby Baugh

Dyeing, printing and fabric design play a fundamental role in your work. Can you talk about it? What role does quilting play instead? What does it add to your work?

I work exclusively with acrylic paints and acrylic mediums. I begin a new work or a new series by creating the yardage I will need. Before I start printing, I will know the dominant palette of the work I am beginning. (Of course, there will almost always be leftover fabric that can be incorporated into future works, and I will also pull from previously created fabric to mix in with the new yardage I am making.) It’s in the surface design stage that delightful surprises and serendipitous events occur. I try to set up enough fabric and printing materials when I begin so that I can respond and run with whatever direction I discover. I use the acrylics as opaque color, and also mix with medium for transparent color. I also enjoy working wet-into-wet – as in my old watercolor work – to create fabric pieces with subtle wash effects.

Once I’ve created a working batch of fabrics for a piece, I begin collaging the composition according to mydesign sketches. I collage the printed fabrics onto a polyester felt backing and work in pieces, quilting as I go. I also use machine stitching for constructing my works, stitching together the quilted sections. Once the whole work is assembled, I frequentlyadd more painted layers — opaque and transparent — to the constructed piece. This is one way to unifiythe sections. It’s also the point at which I use large stencils to place objects and shapes into the artwork.

“From Place Where We Landed
34”h x 43”w,2018,copyright Bobbi Baugh

“From Place Where We Landed – detail
34”h x 43”w, 2018, copyright Bobbi Baugh

In the Studio – creating “From the place Where We Landed”

Can you tell us about the birth and development of one of your works? How do you design a new work?

I created “Something Else Will Grow There” in 2018 as part of a series about home, memories of home, and journeys from home. This piece exemplifies my working method.

The series itself began with a lot of thinking and sketchbook working out of ideas. I had the opportunity for a solo show in the fall of 2018 at Arts on Douglas Gallery in News Smyrna Beach, Florida. I titled the show “Home is What You Remember,’ and created over twenty pieces for the exhibit.My purposes were storytelling and emotional journey. I hoped that the works would create an emotional connection with viewers and inspire thought about all the meanings of “home” in our personal journeys.

Driving down a rural road in South Carolina, I discovered this small abandoned dwelling. We stopped, and I got out and walked the site alone. I tried to imagine what had occurred there. Who had lived here? How long ago was it? What circumstances caused the home to be abandoned? There was a gentle wind, and the scent of pine needles as I walked and connected to the scene. I took a number of photographs for reference.

When I returned home and started thinking about the scene, I considered how to recreate it. At first, I looked at my reference photos and used them as very representational sketches. I drew pictures of the scene and experimented with PhotoShop mockups using a very representational approach. Nothing was right.

Then, I began to focus on the trees and vines that were growing up through the house. I was drawn to the image of growth where there was loss. I changed my sketches to focus on a two-dimensional child-like depiction of homes, and used photo transfer on muslin to place the twisted, overlapping vines and branches in the home’s interior. The work began to feel much more like a fairy tale, and that was much closer to what I wanted.

I created each house as a separate piece, collaging the parts and doing all the texture stitching. Meanwhile, I had created the background — delicate wash images of trees, a skewed horizon line, and an abstract foreground. Then I placed the houses into the background, stitched everything together and did a little more surface painting.

I like this work. One of the things I find interesting is the mixing of realities. A photographic depiction of a scene is not the same kind of reality as a pattern printed fabric. There’s a mix of 2-D and 3-D, a mix of recorded and created. I put these different realities into each house. The effect is the suggestion of a whole new reality: a place of memories and dream.

Abandonedhouse photo inspiration for “Something Else Will Grow There”

In the Studio – creating “Something Else Will Grow There” 2018
copyright Bobby Baugh

“Something Else Will Grow There”, 2018
copyright Bobbi Baugh

How important is the choice of materials for you? Do you experience the use of unusual or alternative materials?

My materials are simple and my printing methods are low-tech. Most pieces include a mix of unbleached cotton muslin and sheer white polyester. I collage these onto a felt backing. To back the finished quilt, I use either painted muslin or grey/black eco felt.

To create the images on the fabric, I use a lot of monotype printing by hand. I also use glue resist, wheat past resist, relief printing, and painting with stencils.

Becoming One With Night”, 35”h x 45”w, 2017
copyright Bobbi Baugh

In the studio creating “Becoming One With Night”,35”h x 45”w, 2017, copyright Bobbi Baugh

To design and create your work, do you also use computer tools such as digital printing, photoshop…?

I enjoy using Photoshop as a way to test ideas or choices. When I am part of the way through a piece, I may face a decision such as what color to use on the next section or how big to create a new graphic element.Then I photograph the work in progress, take it into Photoshop, and try out different colors or design elements. But I do not actually create in Photoshop. The ideas come from what I have worked out in my sketchbook

Small Expectations”, 33”h x24”w, 2014, copyright Bobbi Baugh

In your works, what is the relationship between abstract and figurative representation?

Most of my compositions include some recognizable object. Recently, I have been concentrating on houses, windows, trees, nests, birds, and a recurring figure of a small child. Generally, I place these identifiable objects in a composition of abstract patterns.

Flight of the Magical Lawnchair”, 46”h x 29.5”w, 2014
copyright Bobby Baugh

“Find Something Real to Remember”, 33”h x 46.5”w, 2018
copyright Bobbi Baugh

I quote from your biography: “Now, what is most interesting to me is what is not immediately visible. I am especially intrigued with seeing internal and external events in layers and with depicting the internal and external in a composition together”. This is the essence of your work and the subjects you choose. Can you explain us better? How do you choose the subjects of your works?

My late-fifties were a time of significant life change and a time of realizations. For almost the first time, I looked introspectively and intentionally at my own life historyand my family history to uncover truths and patterns. These personal changes were occurring at the same time that I was discovering artmaking in textiles. So the interests merged. There was an initial period in my surface design work when I was just pleased and excited to be able to create images I liked. Once I felt comfortable with that, I was able to develop a visual vocabulary to use for a communicative purpose. I began with what was personal to me, and have not gone far from that. I created some storytelling works involving the character of a young girl. I explored the concepts of journey and remembrance. I developed these ideas most fully in 2018 when I created the series “Home is What You Remember.”

I do also enjoy depicting the natural world. But, even then, I am mostinterestedin viewing a landscape or natural elements as if sliced through, depicting above and below, before and now all in one composition.I want to create imagery that will provide the viewer with more to discover after the first look.

“Neither Here Nor There”, 44”h x 32”w, 2016, copyright Bobby Baugh

What are you working on right now?

I have an almost completed work on my easel now. It’s forty two inches square, and I am interested in creating a series of works in that square format. Some of the imagery from my “home” series is in it. Trees. A window. A dream-like emotional tone. But, I want to focus less on the exterior of the house as an image and work on going inside the home, to explore what’s there.

In the Studio – Current Project Sewing (Unfinished. “Chair by the Window”)
Copyright Bobbi Baugh

Detail – Current Project. (Unfinished. Chair by the Window)
Copyright Bobbi Baugh

Be the first to comment on "Interview with Bobbi Baugh"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*