Who is Laura Gaskin?
My work is rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding my home. I’m inspired by the grand scale of the mountain views, the lush foliage, and the variety of wildlife. When I hike in the mountains, I seek their leavings. Those include feathers, seed pods, footprints, leaves, and stones. Those treasures often make their way into my work. I am also fascinated by the ways in which people try to reshape the natural world for their own use. Crops are selected and cultivated, flowers are picked and arranged, seasons may become irrelevant when nature is altered by human intent. My work is my response to those forces.
My embroidery technique evolved over time. I wanted to work with color and imagery but was challenged to find a fiber technique that fully satisfied me. When I picked up a library book showing contemporary thread art, I was inspired to try embroidery. I began experimenting with needlepoint canvas and cotton floss. I developed an improvisational stitch to fill the canvas, scattering stitches over an area with one color then going back over that area again and again with additional colors to build depth and color.
I rely on the viewer’s eye to blend thread colors, much as the impressionist painters placed dabs of paint side by side. Because I have long admired the art of printmakers, I borrowed the black outline seen in block prints to define the imagery in my work. Folk artists also fascinate me. The moral clarity so evident in their work led me to borrow the blacks and whites that add strength and contrast, often pairing them for my window frame. Thus the work you see is a synthesis of these influences. It continues to evolve, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.