Turning ‘We’ into ‘Me’ through fiber art
Sometimes life throws a few curves into straightforward plans, changing one’s life forever. That’s what happened to fiber artist, Carla J Fisher, when her husband died a few years ago. After twenty five years in the financial services field, Carla Fisher and her husband had “put all their worldly goods in storage” and travelled throughout the United States in a forty foot motorhome. Life was bliss…until that fateful day when her husband’s heart attack forced them into a brick and mortar home. With his passing a few years later came not just the loss of her best friend and love of her life, but also the loss of the lifestyle in the way each day was lived. “I had to find a way to turn that ‘We’ upside down and make a ‘Me’, she explains, referring to the decision to go back to school to study art. She chose to attend the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she ultimately graduated in May of 2016.
Fisher considers herself fortunate to have discovered her artistic voice in her very first class in art school: sculpting with thread. “I make thread do things that no one believes it can do, just like I made me go back to school this late in life, the logic of which could be questionable!” she quips.
When other materials are included in her work, those materials are typically a recycled material. Working with “trash” is intentional; it is her way of giving new life and beauty to the discarded materials, much like she feels the art has done for her. Things such as Keurig coffee filters, all versions and weights of Tyvek, packing materials, even avocado and nut shells are often found in her work.
Fisher is known for her unique thread work, both two dimensionally, framed to play with shadows, and three dimensional sculptures that defy logic as they stand on their own. Wanting to explore more, she began studying and incorporating the use of encaustic wax. Her work is different, however: she creates encaustic works with embedded and protruding thread sculptures that again break with conformity of the medium.
One can easily see the role that Nature plays as inspiration for Fisher’s work. However, not quite as obvious is her constant experimentation with science and how it affects the materials she uses. A heat gun or copper bits bathing in bismuth crystals are as noticeable in her studio as are colorful thread spools. Drawers of “good junk” hide behind the gallery wall, waiting to become that special element included in her work. Her bubbly energy and sense of joy found in both discovery and creation are the elements that bring them all together into delicate and inspiring artworks.
Carla J Fisher is a resident artist at the Cherry Street Pier in Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been exhibited in five different countries around the world and throughout the United States. You can learn more about Carla Fisher and her work at her website: www.carlajfisher.com