I am excited to share another inspiring interview with my friend Lyric Kinard- she is an amazing quilt and fiber artist, teacher and author!
What is your story, how did you become an artist?
It’s been a circuitous path. I’ve always needed some creative outlet but growing up it was manifest in everything but the visual arts. My father was a high school art teacher and I refused to take the art lessons from him that the rest of my siblings enjoyed. I still regret that.
I was a working musician, and studied creative writing and architecture through college. Later I dabbled in watercolor and pottery but when I chose to have children I put everything aside. I was kind of lost for a while. I’m a good mother but my entire identity had been wrapped up in music or the things I created and I suppose I hadn’t fully embraced the value of motherhood yet. Either that or I was too wrapped up in rewards. Nobody applauds or pays you a bonus or even says thank you when you manage to get through a grueling day caring for babies.
A friend decided to get me out of the house and took me to a traditional quilt bee with her. I loved it and learned solid fundamental techniques from those amazing women. A couple of years later I saw my first art quilt and was enchanted. I hadn’t understood the potential that textiles had as a creative medium and was immediately hooked. I haven’t looked back since. With textiles I can create art a few stitches at a time in five minutes here and there. It stays done. The paint doesn’t dry on the brush while I while I’m taking care of the kids.
What inspires you? What motivates you to make art?
I feel the need to make things, to create order from chaos and beauty from raw materials. I want my art to bring joy into people’s lives. My work is divergent - some of it is abstract and inspired simply by the materials I work with. http://www.lyrickinard.com/abstract.html
Some of it is message driven and inspired by my life experiences as a mother. I’ve found passion and purpose in teaching my children to be productive citizens and people who will make the world a better place for others.
Nobody will give me a big blue ribbon for succeeding with them (if I do succeed) but I can have a great and lasting impact on the world through the work I do with the children in my home. Many of my larger pieces affirm the conviction that the work of mothers and fathers is some of the most important work there is.
Tell us about your book Art & Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises.
I love to share what I do and I love to teach. Wherever I go I hear people say “I’m not creative” or “I can’t ….” It makes me a little crazy. “I can’t” most often means “I’m afraid to try, or, I don’t want to take the time to learn.” This book is a design primer that gently teaches readers to recognize the basic elements and principles of the visual language. Truly, everyone that has the desire to be an artist, or to be creative in any way, does have the ability and potential to learn if they give themselves the time to work and the permission to be imperfect. Just as we learn to read one letter at a time we can learn to write in a visual language if we diligently work to realize our dreams.
I know that you are a hard working, dedicated mom, how do you balance your family and your art? How has being a mom and having a family influenced your work? Do you have set studio hours? How do you organize your creative schedule?
Balance? HAH! My life feels much more like a see-saw with one end slamming to the ground whenever the other end is lifted up high. When I’m in my studio the house isn’t getting cleaned and the kids are eating nachos for dinner. When all five kids are needing me to do things for them the studio is gathering dust. It’s a wild and happy ride though. The kids are pretty self sufficient and they are used to seeing me work. They know there are times when I need to work uninterrupted but most of the time I’m willing to stop and help them out. My husband is a fantastic parent and runs the house when I travel to teach. I do limit my teaching schedule because I still have little ones.
The studio is right on the main floor of the house with a gate rather than a door so I can see and hear everything that is going on. It’s vital to have a place where I can leave things out so that I can come and work on them a few minutes at a time. I also always have a small “to go” project that I can work on while waiting through rehearsals and hockey practices. I think I get more work done that way than in the studio.
I don’t have a schedule. From the beginning my art has had to fit itself into the little nooks and crannies carved out from my main priority as a mother. Most of the time that has been in little snatches of time. There have been long stretches of time when the only art time I’ve had was keeping a sketchbook with me to jot down quick notes and ideas. Those books are now fertile fields from which I regularly reap inspiration. Now that I have longer stretches of time available I’m struggling to create some disciplined studio time without getting distracted by the computer or housework. I have the feeling discipline will by my ongoing struggle.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
Oh lots of things. After thirteen years I picked up my french horn again. I sing alto/tenor and play the mountain dulcimer. I grew up spending summers dressed in buckskin and living in a tipi at Mountainman Rendezvous. I often can’t believe that people will pay to take classes with me and think I know what I’m talking about when I lecture. I often learn as much as my students during class.
What are you working on right now? Do you have any upcoming projects?
Most of my time in the next few weeks will be spent getting ready for the wonderful students there. After that I’m working on a series of whole cloth screen printed works mounted on painted canvases. I’m having a great time exploring the layering of images, adding and taking away color from the cloth then creating a whole new layer of texture through the stitching.