George Laufert Answers Five Questions About His Art

What is your first fiber memory?

A stuffed Easter Bunny . . .

Who got you started in the fiber arts and what technique did you learn?

My spouse was recuperating from surgery, and she was given a Sunset Crewel kit. I decided to give it a try and found that I enjoyed the look and feel of crewel and the therapeutic nature of sewing.

What drew you to the techniques you have now mastered?

After completing about a dozen crewel kits, I began to feel confident in my skills and decided to try my hand at designing my own work. I did not want to be constrained by someone else’s design. So, I worked on new, somewhat innovative, designs. I’ve tried to integrate various techniques, e.g., needlepoint, cross-stitch, many different stitches, and the subtle blending of matching and contrasting colors and various types of threads and beads to compliment my designs and provide structure to an otherwise rigid geometric shape. To add dimension to my design, I surround the central shape in a blending of black to grey to white thread. With this effect, I try to let the central shape stand out and also provide the spatial perception of depth.

What does fiber art mean to you?

There is no hidden meaning to any of my designs. They are meant solely to catch and please the eye. The blending of shapes and colors is sufficiently complex to cause the beholder to seek out the details, threads, and patterns. While none of the shapes may meet the textbook definition of a Mandela, I like to think they meet the spirit of the Mandela. The Compass Rose design sphere most captures the typical theme of four kingdoms and lotus blossom criteria in the center of the Mandela. The designs come naturally and freely, and the joy of laborious mind numbing stitching always puts me in the zone.

Where do you want your fiber art to go in the future?

I need to continue to perfect my sewing techniques and improve my artistic skills. This will challenge me to incorporate more variety into my designs and also allow me to explore different types of designs subjects.