Appliqué Originals

by Janet Gearing


AboutJanet sewing

One must take a closer look at my pictures to discover that they are created from fabric and stitching, not paint. Intricate detail is achieved from layering fabrics and drawing with the needle on the sewing machine. Texture, color and pattern are combined into realistic images one layer at a time and brought to life with thread.

A background in art and the enjoyment of sewing contributed to my unique approach to appliqué, originating in 1974. After receiving a B.S. degree in Art Education in 1967 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I specialized in detailed pencil drawings and watercolors. One day in early 1974, the idea came to me to sew a picture. The simple subject matter of that first appliqué has evolved over the years into the intricate collages of today.

Before starting a picture I visualize it in my mind. Then the fabrics are chosen. Only one shape is cut and sewn at a time. Layer by layer the appliqué is created. Detail is ‘drawn’ with machine stitching and embroidery floss. Particular attention is given to composition as the work progresses.

I enjoy creating a three dimensional illusion on a flat surface. Work done in fiber is usually considered a craft, but my unique approach to appliqué is more a fine art, since my original pictures are ‘painted’ with fabric.

I have exhibited in juried gallery shows in Ohio, Oklahoma and Maryland from 1967 thru 1987 and juried shows on the east coast since 1981. I was a Merit Award Winner at the July 1998 Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft and am a state juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.  My fabric collages were in a feature article in June 1991 Victoria magazine.