Thursday, June 23, 2011

June Member Interview: Debbie Turner Altman

Debbie Turner Altman

What inspires you to create?
Color, pattern and texture that I see around me, fondling fabric, and other people’s work always energizes me.

When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?
I never really pursued art, I just don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to it. I can remember putting color combos together for my dresses that my mother made me when I was still small enough to hide under the tables of fabric. I started creating fashion doll clothes at the age of seven when my grandmother would hold me in her lap and treadle her machine for me so I could sew. I had a wild and crazy bedroom as a teen with lime green walls, electric blue bookcase that I built myself, loud multicolor curtains that I made myself, and a shocking yellow bedspread. My mother claimed it put her eyes out. I think she had a paint roller full of beige paint in her hand the day I moved out. She always let me express myself no matter how outlandish the project may be or how late it kept me up at night. As long as my grades were up, that is!

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
I have never really considered myself an artist, to me creating is just a part of life, but I would probably be a librarian, or what they call a media specialist these days. I love books and being able to do research via all the forms of media almost as much as I love art.

What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
I worked in an arts and crafts store doing merchandising, I love doing visual displays and I think I have a good eye for that, naturally. I also gave product demos in the store, and had to learn about the products in order to give the demos.

At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
Anything I can use to mark on fabric, stencils, and textured paper. You can sew paper, you know?

What new technique or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
I really want to learn more ways of doing free motion longarm quilting. I have plans to practice as much as possible and hope to soon be taking in customer quilts. I can do pantograph allover quilting now, but I want to put more of a one-of-a-kind artistic touch to the quilts I quilt.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Open a fiber artist’s collaborative with a studio for all of my “toys” and “fabric stash” with an environment that enables the flow of inspiration and encouragement.

There are lots of people who'd love to come and be creative with you there, Debbie!  Thanks for the interview.