Friday, February 11, 2011

SPOTLIGHT: On Tracy Stilwell


Faculty Name: Tracy Stilwell   

Birthplace: Syracuse, NY

Current Residence: Charlestown, RI

Necessary Job: Making sure the chooks are fed

How long have you been doing art? 30 years

At what age did you begin creating and why?
I grew up with parents who took on creative projects of all kinds. My mom sewed endless numbers of ballet costumes and outfits for four girls. We always lived in houses that were never quite finished due to a wide variety of on going over hauls, from rooms to major additions. Both parents took part in all phases. There were always projects in progress. For example, while living in Jamestown, RI in the 60’s, my father worked on a boat in the kitchen and it didn’t seem that unusual!

I took  a quilting class shortly after moving to Half Moon Bay, CA in the late 70’s. With sewing skill under my belt, I felt like I had found something I loved. I feel very grateful and fortunate to have hooked into the very active and interesting Bay Area quilting community. With all of the material at hand, I also made my first dolls.

What is your favorite part of teaching?
I think that my favorite part of teaching is encouraging folks to step out of their safe zone. Watching them take those steps, open up to the possibilities is very gratifying. I also love the energy and chatter of a group of women relaxing into the creative process! Learning new tricks of the trade from students is an ongoing bonus!

What do you find most challenging about teaching?
Preparing class proposals a year before an event is very challenging for me. As one with interests that change from moment to moment, who knows what will be up a year from now. Writing perky little paragraphs, bios, etc...Occasionally an individual can provide food for thought and growth, but for the most part it is paper work that becomes the most taxing task for my tender self!!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Well, it’s not exactly spare time, but I spend quite a bit of time with my girlfriend Sue out in our gardens. We have been shifting the perennial beds on our property into spaces to grow food, and have a second planting space with good friends near by. In addition to the gardens, we have six adorable chickens for eggs and five beehives. Early spring through late fall finds me tending to many farm like tasks!! Good books, good movies, cooking, eating, hangin’ with my girl...

What is your favorite type of art medium?
Textiles, fabric, thread, yarn, buttons, beads, paper...

Who is your favorite artist?
My sister Allison

What is one interesting (trivial) fact that everyone should know about you?
Interesting, no...trivial...yes, I love dark chocolate and good coffee...oh, and we have a collection of babies that live in our gardens...

Attach your favorite image and detail why it is your favorite.
I have been printing on gelatin lately and I love this girl. She seems very calm to me. Always trying to stay calm and in the no drama zone!! She currently waiting patiently on the wall in the studio waiting for her next chapter!

Tracy’s Blog:

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