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Meet the Artists: Textiles

Functional and Fabulous Fibres

Textiles have been used as an artistic medium for about as long as humans have been weaving fabric. Capable of being both decorative and functional, textiles can improve both the aesthetic and practical qualities of any space. Meet this year's textile artists: one new and two returning.

Bev and Ellen of Saugatuck's Bevel Designs use of merino wool felt, designer fabrics and handcrafted clay buttons helped them launch Bevel Designs - an array of one-of-a-kind products that are featured in fine retail stores, galleries and museum gift shops throughout Michigan. With a wonderful career as an artist in painting and faux finishing, Bev brings her penchant for color and texture to life. Ellen enjoyed a career in the premium printing and fine art papers industry, where design and details are evident elements in her work. Having such culturally rich backgrounds, they blended their talents and created a partnership.

Nancy Ensing of Grand Rapids, MI has been sewing since she was in Junior High School. She started making cozies for herself, and her family and co-workers. She enjoys making them and enjoys the many different materials and designs to choose from. She spends a lot of time just looking at fabric and has chosen several of her favorites. The cozies are made of 100% cotton and can be microwaved. They are great for warming up food in the microwave and a bowl of ice cream. She hopes you enjoy them as much as she does.

Melissa Van Eck's working methods include hand-made needle “painting” processes. Wool fiber is worked into a fabric to create and invite interaction between the surface tension that is created from the raised fibers of the wool. Inspiration comes from nature, and those brilliant, fleeting moments of beauty that are all around us. As an artist, Melissa wants to capture those moments of beauty. Each stroke of color and texture is meticulously applied to bring a feeling or memory to your heart, a smile to your face and a special moment in time. Her choice of using needle wool painting as the technique for her art brings out her need to touch and feel the texture in the painting and in nature. This technique by its nature creates depth and movement. Her art is a commitment to conveying the beauty of nature, using natural fibers. Needle wool painting, which is made by fixing each natural wool fiber individually with a special needle, is a very demanding method but the result is worth it. Wool fibers create unusual textures, that is different than more traditional forms of painting.

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