My fiber studio is a long 1,000-square-foot room within a large 22,000-square-foot
sculpture studio that I share with my husband (it was formerly a peanut-butter
factory). At another time, the factory was used by a videotape duplication company,
and the room I now use was built as a “clean room” with long rows
of fluorescent lamps designed to light the workspace with no shadows.
The light and the color in my studio are my favorite aspects. The color comes
from the shelves of fabric that I collect to make art quilts—I call it my
color-therapy room, because no matter how bad or sad my mood may be, when I walk
into that room filled with color, I am instantly healed!
I design and build my quilt tops on the pinboards lined up against the wall
next to a 15-foot table that I got at auction. Most of my furniture comes from
auctions. I once bought the video and floral department of a grocery store at
an auction because for $200 I got enough pink-veneer shelves and countertops to
store all my fabric and build three sewing desks. I believe studio furniture should
be portable, on wheels or not attached, so I can adapt my space at will to whatever
I want to make.
I collect vintage ribbons, buttons, and beads that I use in my quilts. I also
collect other vintage things that are too big to put in a quilt, so I draw them
into the quilts. Much like a child plays with blocks, I build tiny environments
to exercise my creativity—playing with color, scale, texture, and of course,
Above my quilting frame is a visual library of quilting stitches that I develop
for each quilt. These stitches are expressive, sometimes symbolic (like corkscrews
or spider webs), and use a variety of threads, and I need to be able to see these
as I sew.
To get ready for my upcoming solo show, I started a series of Yoga and Food–themed
quilts. I lined several up on the wall and put four of my headless friends in
charge. Unfortunately, they don’t have arms either, so not much got done
when I wasn’t there. But at least they help hold the buttons, ribbons, and
Studio photos: Pam RuBert.
Pam RuBert, Yoga 101: The Crab Dip
Pose, 2006; layered commercial and handdyed (by the artist) cotton fabrics
stitched with cotton, polyester, and rayon thread, archival inkjet prints on cotton,
handmade beads (by the artist), vintage buttons; 35" x 50". Photo: Pam