CARLA FISHER

'STRADIVARIUS' - Detail     By Carla Fisher

 

Artist Statement:

I am in awe of artists’ ability to share feelings in such an intimate, expressive way. Throughout my life, color, texture, shape, and most importantly, nature, have been magnets. Little did I know after the death of my husband that art would be the healing therapy that would bring renewed meaning and joy to my life. My life and career had been entrenched in financial services for 25 years, not art!

With loss comes a sense of aloneness, worthlessness, hollowness, and uselessness. At the intersection of those emotions and an overpowering basal need to express those sentiments creatively, my artwork is born. I use thread and throwaways to symbolize how even the tired, used, and totally spent can experience new life. Through free motion machine embroidery, I seek the viewer’s visceral response of surprise as they realize the sculptured material is simply thread. It’s the reminder and the confirmation that one little strand — or woman — truly can do seemingly impossible things when challenged to do so.

 

Bio:

Carla Fisher collected a long list of job titles, career accolades, and moments of pride before ever considering art as a career. Mother of three, grandmother of eight, career military wife, florist, seamstress, stockbroker, manager of stockbrokers, and even arbitrator for FINRA

(the dispute resolution arm of the Securities Exchange Commission) all are hats she wore during the first sixty plus years of her life. The military life afforded her the opportunity to live and work both domestically and internationally. Experiences as a mother and a grandmother piqued her curiosity in the sciences, and taught her the value of seeing things from an uncomplicated perspective. Work as a florist early in her life cemented a love of Nature and showcasing its beauty. As a seamstress taught by her mother at the age of four, she became one with a sewing machine. It wasn’t until the death of her husband of forty years in 2013 that she began considering other directions for her life, and her ping-pong experimentation between pragmatism and creativity in her other careers became the underlayment for her “next life”: a career in art.

 

With a business degree already in hand, the Post Baccalaureate program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA was a logical first step in Fisher’s new career. In her first class in 2015, Constructed Surfaces under the tutelage of Master Fiber Artist, Warren Seelig, she discovered the unique method of stitching that she continues to use, refine, and perfect today. Pushing expectations of the material, she sculpts two and three dimensional works with rayon embroidery thread.

 

Color and texture are hallmarks of her work. “I try to use as many shades of thread as necessary to achieve a watercolor effect,” says Fisher of the pseudo-brushstrokes in her pieces. “Life blends together, often seamlessly; other times, abruptly changing. I want my work to exhibit the same. It’s that subconscience suggestion that my work is alive!”

 

“Previously loved materials” such as Keurig coffee filters and old Tyvek envelopes found their way into her work in 2016, as they became a metaphor for her resurrection to new life as a widow. “When you lose someone you love – especially someone you’d been with for so many years like I had -- somehow you lose part of yourself. 'Worthless', 'used', 'hollow', 'spent'…..those are all adverbs that immediately come to mind as I think about how I felt about my new life alone. I truly felt as though I was only half of the person I had been before my husband died.  But as my work evolved, I discovered a healing magic in taking something discarded and making it into something beautiful and purposeful again, even if that purpose is only to make me smile.”

 

In 2017, encaustic wax lured her as a way to achieve dimension in her work. The throwaways worked into the wax offered the physical and visual texture that are so integral to her work. And thread….always thread… is used, as she professes in her artist statement, “as the reminder and the confirmation that one little strand — or woman — truly can do seemingly impossible things when challenged to do so.”

The simple beauty and innovative techniques used in Carla Fisher's work have been recognized both internationally and domestically in her very short artistic career. Her work has been on exhibit in Canada, Korea, and the Ukraine, as well as multiple venues across the United States. She continues to press boundaries from her studio in Pennsylvania.

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