Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Artist: Patti Cantu

Today I'm pleased to introduce you all to Patti Cantu.  She doesn't have a website, but you can e-mail her at   Her work is beautiful and I'm particularly glad to be sharing it now, as much of it beautifully captures the season we're in now.

1. Who are you and where do you live? 

I am artist with a love of nature and all things related to fiber.  I enjoy expressing my interpretation of nature in my creations.  My personal photographs often evolve into inspiration or subjects for my artwork.  I use my own dyed fabric but it doesn’t stop me from using purchased commercial fabrics and mixing the two in my pieces.  I love realism but add a touch of abstract for interest in my art.
I am married and we have two grown daughters and live in Columbia Missouri.

Patti Cantu, Sunrise, 38" x 33"
2. Tell us a little bit about your artistic journey and how you got started?

My paternal Grandmother was an artist and worked with oil paints and pastels.  At age four, my Grandmother would take me to Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri for art lessons.  While growing up, my Grandmother and I often did art together and I traveled a lot with my grandparents.  These times together were some of my favorites.  My mother and her mother sewed and I learned to sew with them at an early age.  By age 11 I was sewing my own clothing.  After I married, my mother and I took a quilting class together (1979)  and she embarked on traditional quilting for the next 35 years.  I also did some traditional quilting but became more interested when my children were older.  Fabric art was the next step for me because it included many of the things I enjoy; drawing, painting and photography all sewn together with fabric.  I have been creating fabric art for several years using the skills I have been developing my whole life.  I hope to continue this journey for many years to come.

Patti Cantu, Indian Paintbrush, 15.5" x 19.5"

Patti Cantu, Fall Color, 15" x 7"

 3. How do you describe your work?

My work is realism with a touch of whimsy for interest.  I have tried many different techniques and have enjoyed all of them.  I start with an idea, then check my morgue of photos and or go put and take additional photos.  From the photos I design my quilts, doing thumb nail sketches until I have a composition I like. I follow with a quick watercolor paintings to try out different color choices.  Then I create a pattern and start collecting fabrics hopefully from my stash.  Some of the commercial fabrics I have used have been over dyed and I create my own dyed fabrics to use in my art work.

Patti Cantu, Stream of Trout, 40" x 48.5"

4. Do you have any favorite techniques or approaches?

Most of my pieces involve appliqué,  I prefer turned under appliqué but I have also used raw edge appliqué and piecing techniques.  When possible I paint or dye fabrics to use in my art.

Fall Leaves Falling, 31" x 42"

5. What do you want to communicate with your work?

We all live on a very large planet.  This planet Earth has many different landscapes and animals on it.  I want to see and share as much of it as I can through my art.  I hope when someone sees one of my pieces they think they want to experience nature up close and personal.

Patti Cantu, Subterranean, 9.5" x 12.5"

6. What methods, or lifestyle tips, or time management tips do you find helpful to producing work?

This is a difficult question for me.  I feel I should be using my time more wisely.  In a good week I spend two to three hours a day in my studio three to four times a week creating.  I have found any time spent in my studio is effective because my mind is thinking about art, even if  I am thumbing through fabrics, cleaning or drawing.  
I belong to a group of artist in Columbia Missouri, we get together each month and this keeps me inspired, we share ideas materials and critiques of our work.  I also formed a drawing group that meets weekly.  Time spent with creative friends is so important to me.

Patti Cantu, Free Motion Sampler, 25" x 25"

7. What kind of studio/workspace do you have and what features of your surrounding are most helpful for your productivity/work?

A special place to create art is so important.  It can be a small desk area in a family room or bedroom, but every artist needs an area that is just theirs.   Creative minds tend to have short  memories and if you must drag all supplies out each time you have an idea you probably won’t.  I am fortunate to have a wonderful space that I share with my husband.  His office is a  corner of my studio and I love it when he is at his desk working when I am also working.  I feel the closeness.  I collect mixed media and art books and read them over and over.  By my bed is a stack of  books to read when I am restless.  If you have the space it saves time to have similar things together.  I have a cutting area, a pressing area, a painting area and a couple sewing areas.  I use a large walk-in closet for fabric storage.  I have one wall dedicated as a design wall.  I pin my pieces on it, step back and evaluate the composition, changing it before I commit to sewing it.

Patti's Studio

Patti's Studio

8. Which artist, other individuals or subjects currently inspire you?

Many artist inspire me.  More than I could mention.  I have recently studied with Leni Weiner.  She has helped me to see the big picture and what I should do with my art and the importance of value in a fiber piece.  Hollis Chatelian has taught me to use my drawing skills and how to use dye to paint fabric.  Caryl Bryer Faller-Gentry’s classes helped me with “flow of line” and color.  Phil Beaver’s class was one of my favorites.  He showed me how to easily paint fabric using fabric paints.  Since my background is in landscape painting with acrylics and oils this was so useful to me.  I have taken other classes and have enjoyed them immensely.  If  you have not taken a workshop or two please consider it.  I have never been to a workshop and not learned something that would help me create art and it’s a wonderful way to meet new artist.  It is usually best to not copy the teaching artist style. The fun is in learning and then how it may be applied to your style.   

Patti Cantu, Fall Patterns, 15.5" x 15.5"

Thanks so much to Patti for sharing and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful article, Patti and I LOVED seeing all this work in one spot! Thank you for sharing!