For fiber arist Leisa Rich, making is what keeps her alive...more
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Why I Make: For Hope and a Future
Why do I make? This is the question I have been asking myself my whole life. I had no idea it would take me this long to figure out. It has taken trips to Africa and Germany, marriage, children, and various other life experiences for me to finally get it. But here I am today, working on creating a career by doing something I love. Let me explain.
Doing my art has always nagged at me. I have been a creative person my whole life; I always knew that I was going to be an artist or work in a creative field somehow. I went to art school straight out of high school and dropped out a year and a half later. Since then it has been stop and go. What was always holding me back was the simple question: Why? I didn't know why I was making things. Did it matter?
My block printing became a priority after my husband and I decided it was time to shut down our retail store after having fought through the economic downturn. At the time the store had been my creative outlet. I was able to design window displays and make and sell decorations. I was more than happy with what I was doing, telling myself that I would jump back into my artwork more once our kids were a bit older. But things changed when we closed the store and I no longer had an outlet.
Shortly after that, I took a job working a couple evenings a week to help pay the bills. Around this time I started watching the Craft in America series. I was getting my butt kicked every time I watched, and I kept going back for more. I realized that I didn't have a choice; I have to do what I was meant to do. I have to make.
The story that particularly inspired me was about the Timberline Lodge in Oregon. It was built during the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration work program. It struck me because we are going through similar times, and people were being put to work to create something beautiful. I was fascinated that during difficult economic times, effort was put into a project like that. I saw what they were doing as a symbol of hope for the future.
I took further inspiration from the time period when designing my block prints. I was drawn to the intricate patterns on Depression glass, and took elements of the designs to create new individual images that can be used alone or together. My choice for printing on textile comes from wanting to create items that can be used and cherished.
So this is why I make, for hope and a future.
Trixy Eichler lives in Olympia, WA, working and living with her husband and two children. Alongside of her block prints and sewing, she also writes a monthly blog post for Retail.Easy. and makes felt iPad sleeves on Trixwithay.