Feature Articles

July 2013

Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg in Spartanburg, SC, Features Upcycled Works by Lou Webster

The Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg in Spartanburg, SC, will present Upcycled in the Upstate, featuring works by artist Lou Webster, on view in the Guild Gallery located at the Chapmen Cultural Center, from July 1 - 28, 2013. A reception will be held on July 16, from 6-8pm, with an artist talk at 7pm and again on July 16, from 6-8pm, during the Spartanburg ArtWalk.

The exhibit allows the viewer a glimpse of how art and creativity play an important role in the pursuit of living a “green” lifestyle, especially in terms of recycling and “reimagining” items that no longer “serve a purpose”. Upcycled artwork not only reuses old materials, it tells a story that becomes a part of history.

Webster describes her art process and work by saying, “As a native of North Carolina, my love of texture and materials stems from a fascination of the dilapidated farmhouses and barns that dot the rural landscape. Structures long abandoned fall slowly to the earth. Broken and twisted they evolve into mixed media sculptures of rusted metal, weathered planks, and untamed vegetation. I am drawn to the quiet beauty of these ragged forms and worn surfaces and most important, to the individuality they exude.”

“In the South there exists a stubborn frugality - that use what you have mentality - that drives creativity in many ways. Like those rural ‘sculptures’ I admire in the landscape the items that comprise my art have been discarded too,” adds Webster. “Most were once useful household articles, now upcycled and reimagined. Found objects are evaluated for form, symmetry and balance in relationship to each other. Having a green perspective allows me to reap double satisfaction from my work. Each finished piece becomes something greater than merely the sum of its parts; it has character, whimsy and a new story to tell.”

Webster earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. Her studio focus was Surface Design with a minor in Apparel and Textile Management. While at NC State she received the Louis Cramer Award for Textile Design, a scholarship that provided for a semester’s study abroad at the prestigious Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, Scotland. Her independent studies drew upon Scotland’s rich history and ancient landscapes in developing patterns for knitted and woven fabrics.

After graduating from NC State she attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Fibers. Her thesis “Shelter Remnants” explored the similarities between architectural ruins and the draping quality of textiles. These large wall sculptures were constructed of metal and screen printed fabrics.

Webster’s career spans over 17 years of designing textiles and floorcoverings for the home furnishings, commercial and hospitality markets. Her designs and color development work have earned several industry awards and technology-related patents. In addition to her industry experience she has led craft workshops, taught design seminars and undergraduate textile classes, and provided mentoring opportunities to young designers.

The layering and mixing of materials with textiles continues to be an influence that binds Webster’s professional and studio work. Currently she is exploring the use of recycled and upcycled materials in her sculptural character studies.

Webster is employed with Milliken & Company as a Senior Designer in their Floorcovering Division and specializes in hospitality carpet design. She splits her time between South Carolina and North Carolina, where she shares a home with her husband, two sons, and one thoroughly silly dog.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Guild at 864/764-9568 or visit (www.artistsguildofspartanburg.com).

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