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Tom Johnson

This body of my work - which is created by taking multiple layers of fabric, manipulating, sewing, cutting, and washing them to make the fibers “bloom” - had a serendipitous beginning. I had fabric remnants from a variety of architectural and interior design projects. I started experimenting with layering, sewing them in lines at close intervals, cutting and washing, in an effort to create a soft, tactile, dog-friendly throw for our sofa. The results got my creative juices flowing. I quickly saw lots of possibilities, determined which fabrics worked best and how this newly created “Ridge and Furrow Chenille” could be used. Benches and ottomans soon followed. “Ridge and Furrow” designs for the wall, as well as a “quilt,” developed simultaneously.

After seeing quilts at the Modern Quilt Show in Austin that had graphic messages, and wanting to commemorate the death of a couple of close friends, I started creating pillows with a message. The pillows led me to explore color applied in strips to the top layer. My most recent piece, “Passage,” utilizes this technique as well as washed and unwashed layers.

The process continues to excite me and take me in new directions. I am influenced by the tradition of quilt making as well as by modern and minimalist quilts (and on some level by the randomness of Jackson Pollock). I’m inspired by the surprises that come from the layers beneath the surface, the interplay of color, interpreting what I see around me in this medium of fabric and threads, expressing a message that grabs me, and the endless possibilities.

More of Tom's work, specifically his pillows, can be found in the section Textile & Wearable Art, or his fabric sculpture, under  Sculpture, Fiber.

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