Heidi Parkes Artist Statement
In my work, I create a scaffolding of fabric, piecing, and quilting that allows me to reference many ideas on a single plane. The raw materials are textiles from domestic culture, fashion, family heirlooms, and scavenged prints. I integrate them with fabrics that I have embroidered, stained, dyed, or designed. These materials are pieced together to create the main imagery of the quilt, like a collage. This cloth is then beset with hand stitches, evocative of the slow process involved in construction, and functioning as a layer of ‘drawing’ on the quilts surface.
When composing a quilt I rarely adhere to a set plan, relying instead on improvisation. Remindful of color field painting, I begin my work with a feeling, place, or theme. Looking to reconstruct my world, I employ aerial views, photographic documentation, and artifacts- all the while aware that my goal is far more complex than the visual of a single point in time. The moments I choose to replicate are unique to me, and simultaneously innumerable in the lives of others.
Like so many women before her, my maternal grandmother planned a collaborative quilt to celebrate my birth, and introduced me to the art of quilting. My work continues a family tradition, but congruently incorporates new information from varied quilting traditions, and my multidisciplinary training in art. Often inspired by painters, I feel an artistic connection with Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Mark Bradford, Julie Mehretu, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, William Kentridge, El Anatsui, Do Ho Suh, the quilts of Gee’s Bend, and the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi.
I've lectured for quilt guilds, colleges, institute days, and special events. Please email me at HeidiParkesArt@gmail.com with inquiries about lectures, keynote speaking, and hands-on workshops.
Please enjoy the links to some of my recorded interviews below:
‘Make and Decorate’ Podacast, launching 7/4/2019
‘Modern Sewciety’ Podcast, episode #204
The 'Have Company' Podcast, episode #13
'Thought Mixing Bowl' Podcast with Matt Hanna, Episode #8
'Anja Notanja Asks' interview on the Riverwest Radio Station, on Soundcloud
'Fox 6' News Milwaukee filmed my quilts in the Fine Furnishings Show in Wauwatosa, Fox 6
'Creative Mornings Milwaukee' Lecture on collaboration, Our Audience