Paula Gron – Kingwood, TX
I think I’ve been an artist since birth (Ohio, USA) having drawn and painted as soon as possible! I attended a private art college and worked professionally as a graphic designer and commercial illustrator for over 30 years. I sew, crochet, knit but learned to weave as an adult making 3-D constructions of my 2-D weavings. I quickly turned toward basket weaving. I even married a sculptor! I have an extensive sculptural basketry show record (I even showed at Hudgens Center before). As a gardener, I’ve always been fascinated with the pods and seeds that plants and trees produce. My traditional baskets soon became gnarly, amphoric and more abstract in content but always referenced plant life. Eventually, needing to ease up on my work by hand, I now use the assistance of my sewing machine!
My work focuses on the destruction of plant habitats with an understanding of human and environmental threats and the need for conservation. The forms of natures life-giving seeds and pods are fascinating in complexity and always give me inspiration for unusual dimensional construction. I work with the IUCN Red List database for extinction information as well as with a few botany scientists both here and abroad. I rely on my experience in weaving, sewing, and quilt technique to select the process needed to construct such forms. I do not aim to duplicate nature but to bring awareness by celebrating its beauty.
Three years ago, I met with local botanists to research endangered plant life which led to a series of 3-D canvas pieces influenced by standard herbarium data sheets. I then asked these scientists what was deemed the oldest plant life on earth. Ferns and pines have evolved for centuries with some, unfortunately, now heading toward extinction.Tracheophyta species are just one of a tree species native to Hubei province of China. The Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood) of this genus is in decline from threats like agriculture and use in biological research. Conservation efforts require better land and water management not to mention threats of wildfire with more evidence pointing at climate change.The shape of the pinecone that this tree produces is truly fascinating following (like many of natures forms) the Fibonacci series pattern of growth. I enjoyed combining the spiraling bracts on a “bark-like” tree trunk with green interior.
Techniques Used: Painted, stitched, fused and manipulated "pine cone" fabric bract segments with hidden wire stitched edges. The segments are then attached and stitched together to vertical "tree" trunk. Trunk consists of gathered, painted, layered and stitched vertical segments with pieced, painted and quilted green fabric interior.
Materials Sourced From Nature: Quilt quality cotton fabric.
Other Materials Used: Wire, thread, fabric paint, rubber stamps, painted brass brads with painted PVC pipe for interior stability.
Measurements: 18" x 14" x 13"