Studio Visit: S.D. Evans

S.D. Evans is an artist living and working in Washington state. Her work can be seen in PLEAT's March 2017 exhibition as well as sdevans.com. 

Please describe your work.
I make quilts. I use quilts as objects and as storytellers and I focus my work on the essentials of the story and its materials. The quilt making process strengthens my relationship between material and context. I use process and materials in an attempt to push the boundaries of the historical context of quilt making. The quilt making process is intimate, tactile, repetitive - often becoming a meditation on itself. 

What internal and external factors motivate your conceptual choices? 
Place is very important to my work. I am constantly intrigued and inspired by place and one’s sense of identity through place. I am originally from Pennsylvania but, since then, I have made my home in various cities and use those experiences to adapt traditional quilt patterns to create a new narrative. The shapes and patterns used reflect my home and community while the method and materials used recall traditional quilt making influences.

My current work focuses on the effects of relocation, the displacement of self and others, and the struggles of creating an identity in a fluid society. While exploring place and identity, the goal is to connect traditional craft with contemporary life.

Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them?
Amish quilts, particularly their simplicity in form and expert craftsmanship, have had an overwhelming influence over my work - and still do. Other quilters that influence me are: many quilters from Gees Bend, Lindsay Stead, Kathryn Clark, Erin Wilson, Maura Ambrose, and Meg Callahan. These artists inspire and challenge me to push my work to new places. I have learned two great things from all of these artists: both the power of community and the power of finding my own voice. 

How has digital technology affected your artistic practice?
Digital technology has affected my practice in that I now document so much of the process from start to finish. I have Instagram photos of stacks of fabric and videos of me sewing at my machine. There are pros and cons of so much documentation. I appreciate each step of the quilting process as an art form and approach Instagram photos as such. However, there is that gray area between having the art be the art and then having it become the art of Instagram. It can easily become an illusion. Yet, I love social media for furthering my connections to the creative community. It is a great way to discover new artists and their processes.