How it all started: discovering Canvas with Movement
Canvas With Movement is how I described my first fiber art creation once it was dry and hanging on the wall of our rental home, in September of 2014. After making a wall hanging specifically for the large wall in my dining room, I was hooked. But there is so much more to this story. The first piece eventually lead to a new form of fiber art that is finding its way into homes, restaurants and hotels all around the world and it all started with a blank wall.
In 2014, our family of four moved into a cute rental house in Dallas, Texas. Big windows let in the best natural light and I knew the original wood floors were going to look stunning once I repainted the pale green walls white. The mature hydrangea bushes and tall trees that filled the lot, provided a very charming place that we would call home, at least the term of our 12-month lease.
My husband and I are entrepreneurs, and growing a small business while also growing our family, has had its financial struggles. We moved several times since getting married and I was no stranger to rearranging our hand-me-down furniture and thrifted couches to fit in various apartments and rental homes to create a space that I was proud of. From a Los Angeles apartment to a Dallas rental house, we found ourselves with more space to work with, however two boys under the age of 4 made every square foot of our home very valuable.
My visions of decorating each new rental always faded quickly among the piles of dinosaurs, Legos, balls and toy trucks, but the one thing I couldn’t ignore were the empty walls. Because my taste for art and my budget for art didn't really align, I took it upon myself to paint small canvases, incorporate thrift store art and frame photos of our boys to fill any voids. The wide open living room that joined the dining room in our newest rental however, had a wall that was begging for a statement piece.
There was a day in September when I walked past the wall and the windows were allowing the best natural light to fill the room and it hit me- I knew exactly what the wall needed. It needed texture. Dimension. Substance. Movement. And it needed to be big. Immediately I had this idea of suspending individual strands of something (Fabric? Strips of material? A Textile?) to a wooden dowel to create a sort of canvas, but with texture, movement and dimension. I spent the next day wandering the aisles of a craft store and then a hardware store for supplies. I came up with something that I couldn’t wait to work on.
That Friday, after putting the boys to bed, I stayed up late cutting yarn and attaching each piece to a long wooden dowel. My husband gave me a curious side-eye during the movie we watched as I worked to bring my vision to life. The next morning was warm and the kids played outside while I rested my new “canvas” between two Ikea storage shelves so that I could add color to the hanging strands of yarn. I was familiar with paint, but had never used liquid dyes to create a design. I started simple and added a layer of gray dye, then navy in the center and an aqua green color for the sides.
It was windy and the strands were flying everywhere splattering me with dye but once the sun dried the hanging fibers, I brought the piece inside and used thumb tacks to hang it on our dining room wall. I stood back and eyed my creation.
It was interesting. It added texture and a unique look to my basic dining room. It felt warm and inviting. I couldn’t stop looking at the way the dye layers faded into each other so effortlessly, creating a peaceful and organic feel. From the wooden dowel at the top, the fibers hung down at various lengths and the line that the strands created at the bottom of the piece was unstructured and so natural. With an overall dimension of 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall, this was a large statement piece that was unlike anything I had ever seen.
My husband, an art lover himself, came to see my work and he was intrigued. He was immediately drawn to the movement of the strands as I "combed” my fingers through to untwist groups of strands to lay them flat on the wall. Individually James and I are very particular about our taste and styles, and I knew that if we could agree on a single piece of art, I was on to something.
His complements began and he wanted to me to make another one for our bedroom. I was flattered and excited that he appreciated my vision. I felt that this addition to our plain dining room had suddenly opened a door of creativity that was just waiting to be explored. I decided to build another “canvas with movement” piece and thousands of tapestries later I am so grateful for that big, white, plain wall and often find myself searching for more blank walls to be inspired by.