Heather Kerley Art


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    Heather Kerley is a full-time painter, mixed media, and fiber artist. For several years, freestyle hoop art has been central to her artistic practice. In 2018, she began making unusual abstract embroideries using found fabric, primarily vintage kimono silk scraps. Recently, she has expanded her work to include intuitive, improvisational abstract pieces on plain linen. Kerley is dedicated to keeping the rich tradition of embroidery not only alive and well but also evolving as an art form.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I start my process with a found scrap of fabric and let the original pattern and colors influence my selection of shades, thread weights, and beads I will use in the piece. I then improvisationally “riff” on the background fabric. Knowing when to stop and what elements need to be subtracted is all part of the process. No two embroideries are the same.

    A: My embroideries are an extension of my abstract paintings and watercolors from earlier in my artistic journey. They continue to evolve into increasingly unique explorations and this really excites me! I am also interested in sustainability in fiber art, which is why I use found fabric in my work, from kimono silk to vintage linen napkins I find in antique stores.

    A: The winding path I took to art-making makes my work unique. 15 years ago I was a Defense Department analyst when I began taking painting and drawing classes. At first I was a realist painter but the play of color and marks became my obsession, which led me to abstraction. I took that impulse finally into the medium of embroidery.

    A: I am never bored when I am making art. The process is so mysterious. There is so much frustration and self doubt but then there are those moments when something unexpected and amazing happens that really fizzes and excites, visually. Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.

    A: My husband Mike has been incredibly supportive of my work and my life with him has been incredibly happy. I don’t believe artists have to struggle and suffer for art. I can only make the art I do from a place of stability and peace, which I owe to all the friends and family who support me.

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