Every artist has a creative odyssey shaped by doubt, exploration, and discovery, and what seems like eternal transition, sometimes even from genre to genre.
For Chestertown artist Faith Wilson, an early impulse to create found a place in weaving, carding, spinning, and dying homegrown wool. Inspired by two years traveling Europe and visiting some famous French tapestry studios, Wilson thought she’d discovered her creative path and set out to make tapestry jackets under her “Circe” brand.
But her interests began to change when she discovered painting, starting with small jobs like helping paint theatre sets with local artist Jack Schroeder.
Continuing to experiment with forms, Faith, with her sister, ceramic artist Marilee Schumann, opened a studio and gallery at the old granary building on Washington Avenue. It was there she met a visiting artist who painted on canvas. She loved the texture of the material and the fact that it was raw, unstretched.
She thought, “These might work well as floor coverings” and went about perfecting a form all her own. She never looked back, and the last 20 years have been a whirlwind of exhibits at elite galleries and shows like the American Craft Council, Visionary Art Museum, Washington Craft Show, and the Smithsonian. For five years, her work has been offered at the cooperative artists’ gallery, Create, while continuing to fulfill custom orders for clients throughout the country.
Working with her own stencils, Wilson’s dimensional technique of multiple overlays reveals a constellation of motifs, some abstract, others a kind of luminous and reimagined folk art. For example, her recurring blackbirds show up in entirely different contexts throughout her catalogue.
If you are like some of us, shy of using them for their purpose—as utilitarian floor coverings—your walls will brighten with her vision. Then again, a floor is just another surface.
“These are meant to be walked on, have tables and chairs on them, or in the kitchen or hallway,” she says.
The Spy recently visited Faith’s studio on Cannon Street to talk about her journey. While she demurs from considering herself an “artist” while self-identifying as more of a craftswoman, the contrast in words is eclipsed by the created wonder of her work.
This video is approximately seven minutes long. For more about Faith Wilson’s art and her gallery please go here.