You're lost. You're confused. You don't belong here. You need help.
Helping others feel safe and supported when they are lost and disoriented has been my life's theme--befriending new kids at school, guiding lost travelers, comforting those in grief and fear, and with an odd twist, even in my artistic expression.
The theme of my art is helping fabrics escape dreary surroundings where they don't belong (i.e., thrift store racks, yard sale tables, scrap bins) and giving them a vibrant, new expression in combination with other overlooked fabrics. Reshaped in new contexts and in new combinations, fabrics find a new home, a second life.
The same is true for us. If we are willing to step out of familiar surroundings and be transformed (preferably in the company of friends old and new) we can discover who we are and where we belong.
In the mid-90's Melissa Lewis took up quilting after two years of pursing a master's degree in Organization Development while also working full time. Needle and thread got her out of her head and into her creativity. It was soothing, grounding and established a common bond with a grandmother she never knew. For many years traditional and contemporary quilting and doll making helped her stay balanced during her career as a communication skills consultant/speaker and in her present work in chaplaincy.
Recently, Melissa found new inspiration by challenging herself to use every last scrap of fabric left over from another project. As the pieces got smaller and smaller (pieces that would normally end up in the trash) the work became more and more interesting, leading to an improvisational technique she calls "quilted lace."
No longer limited by the assumption that fiber art requires sizable cuts of pristine fabric, she relishes the hunt for hidden textile treasure in thrift stores and other hiding places where misfit fabrics long to be rescued and transformed. Wool socks become a tiny farmer's sweater, a thrift store coat lining becomes sheep fleece, a garish pillow cover becomes island grass, medical scrub tops become lacy gardens of color. (If you've ever donated colorful cotton clothing to charity, take a good look. You might see an old friend!)
Manipulating needle, thread and fabric keeps Melissa grounded in this hectic modern world. Melissa rescues fabrics, and the fabrics return the favor.
A Washington DC native, she now lives in Weaverville, NC with her husband Ray.
Copyright © 2019, Melissa Lewis