Fiber artist Deborah Foutch attributes her palette and her sense of line, light and space to the landscape of her native Iowa. “The rhythm of seasonal change, the flow of rivers, the roll of land, the grace of trees, and the abounding variety of light are recurring subjects, awakened in childhood,” she notes about her work.
Deborah’s process involves a variety of techniques. Working with fabric, thread, paint and found objects she produces lustrous and delicate topographies of embroidery and appliqué. “I sculpt, sew, paint, ink, tear apart and recombine, tell stories with texture and dimension, using layers to reflect the visual abundance in which we live.”
The Minneapolis artist holds a BA in Art and another in History from University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. She regularly shows her work at galleries in New York and New Mexico and maintains an active exhibition schedule at venues including the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the American Craft Council Show in St. Paul and the Powderhorn Art Fair in Minneapolis. Her work has earned purchase awards at the Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival in Idaho and the Southwest Arts Festival in Albuquerque, NM. The artist relishes working under exhibition deadlines as she feels the discipline keeps her work fresh and her skills sharp.
Deborah's statement about her River Lights series:
All of the pieces I call River Lights (detail at left) grew out of a summer evening standing on the Ford Parkway Bridge over the Mississippi River. It was one of those summer evenings that you sometimes get but are not guaranteed in our muggy Midwest. It was not hot, not cool, not damp, or dry. The air seemed kind on my skin. I believe it was August because the trees had that reaching to the leaf tip greenness they get at the end of summer. There was a cloudbank on the eastern horizon and I headed to the river to watch the sunset. I parked on the west bank and walked across the bridge to the east bank then went back to the center. I stood facing north watching the light go by, watching the surface of the water. There were greens, blues, grays, and browns that were joined by purple shadows, and pink coppery highlights reflecting the cloudbank absorbing the red light. There were ever changing textures on the surface of the moving water. The bright tips created by air moving one way and the water another danced here then over there, all of it moving, changing, new with every glance from one aspect to another. I stayed watching until the river seemed to consist of variations of murky yet steely grays, blues, and browns. I watched the flow of the river and the ebbing of the light entirely rapt, trying to catch the moment when change happened. But it was just gradual flow. The best I could do was record in my mind’s eye the moment to moment details my attention is capable of, then hope to bank them for when I need to call on them to tell me if the thing I am creating has some visual truth. I have been using that experience for more than a year to create the pieces I call River Lights. Sometimes I can call up a specific story of where and when I noticed my place as an observer and re-interpreter of flowing life and light. And sometimes it’s just part of what's present from watching the world and practicing my craft. I don't recall exactly what moment I'm calling on. I've simply stepped into a stream of the observed and I exercise skills honed to create my version of the world.
As a fiber artist, Deborah studies the effect of light on her assemblages and often plays with a variety of materials and textures. In her recent series of bird drawings, Deborah explores the application of oil pastel to archival paper. Crow is pictured below.