Shō Notes – A CO-OP’s Perspective Fusion Fiber Arts

Written by: Connor Smyth

Debra is a very skilled seamstress. She does clothing as well as beautiful fiber art, and I assume she could do practically anything else in that realm. She has two studios at Shō and runs many different workshops and lessons. Her business has been affected a lot by COVID, but before the pandemic business was booming, and it seems to be picking back up again. Even during the height of the pandemic, Debra told me she created over 500 different coloured spools of thread because that’s what her customers wanted. Originally, she was just doing fiber art, but her business quickly grew out of natural demand. She uses a technique called wet felting to create much of the different threads she uses. From my understanding, she uses different natural materials to get her colours for that  technique. Long story short, she has a lot going on with her business, and has quite the portfolio of skills when it comes to sewing and crocheting and the like. If you’d like to learn these things, are looking for materials, or would like to purchase some of her beautiful art, then I would highly recommend you check her business out at Shō

As a young artist, the level of skill and experience that Debra has is what I aspire to. She has honed her craft(s) through years and years of experience (and experimentation, I assume). Although she isn’t making millions of dollars like some artists end up doing, she has managed to make a living off what she loves to do – this is what I aspire to. Her fiber art, which generally replicates the paintings of famous artists such as Van Gogh, is particularly impressive to me, as a visual artist. I generally do paint and draw, and to see something so radically different is humbling. You can think you know it Call (which I know I certainly don’t), and then discover an entirely new way of doing things. Debra described her fiber art as the exact opposite of what we humans do intuitively. Instead of your hand moving across the canvas, your canvas moves while your hand moves up and down. The end product, which I have seen, is of course stunning.

Debra definitely has a lot to bring to the table at Shō (and has already brought much). She has taught others at Shō some of her skills, which is great. Ultimately, I think sharing the thing we do best with others is one the best ways to improve our community. As a person Debra has a lot to say, and I’m sure you could learn a lot from her if you attended some of her classes. I’m not particularly great at describing peoples’ personalities (I couldn’t describe my own if my life depended on it), but I can describe their actions. Almost every time I see her at Shō,  Debra greets me kindly. It is a small thing, but I think that can say a lot about a person.   

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