When fiber artist Anne Greenwood was a child, her artist-grandmother introduced her to art. “She’d studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I drew a lot with her when I was growing up,” she says.
After studying photography and sculpture at Minnesota State University, the North Dakota native moved to Portland in 1990 to work with photography historian Thomas Robinson at Historic Photo Archive, where she researched Oregon photographers. “I was also photographing musicians and rock bands, and taking pictures of my travels,” she says. “I showed a lot of collage. I never exhibited straight photography.”
In 2002, a friend who’d run a sewing business and studio gave Greenwood her equipment, fabric and supplies, and she began to explore fiber as another form of the collages she enjoyed making with photographs. Her background as a photographer influences how she assembles her fabric collages. “I’ve used photography as an image-keeping and image-making process and as a way to put images together, so I’ve always looked at it as a resource, and I realized that I didn’t need to be confined to one way of looking at images,” she says. “But photography has helped me look at things and helped with my collage composition. Photography allowed me to look closely at things, and that vision influences my work.”
Greenwood begins a fabric collage with drawings of images and the final form takes shape as she translates those drawings into fabric. Breath (pictured) is made from feather ticking, old overalls, pieces of a crazy quilt and felt with words from a journal silk-screened across it. The piece is from a series called Recalling My Senses. “My subject matter is often an exploration of what I see around me or what I feel inside,” says Greenwood. “This was more of a personal expression. I’d just had a child, and I was coming down to Earth again.” The 20-inch by 24-inch collage is $500.