BARKS HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD
Hmm: Particular People
Girl With Not-Yet-Flipped-Back Bangs
Swim Beneath the Pain
Spontaneous Brain Combustion
Head in the Clouds
Head in the Clouds/side 2
Smiles Per Hour
Swing that Ukulele
Lots to Think About
|Experienced With||For-hire services, Leading workshops, Speaking engagements, Commissions|
As a fiberart-cartoonist, I have allowed my childhood fascination with comic books to reemerge and take over my work. I recapture their fun by closing my eyes and doodling with two hands to music. Then, I turn the pages around and look at them from all angles, finding shapes that lead to creatures, just like the game of searching for animals in the clouds.
My imagination allows me to find other-worldly creatures and to manipulate their experiences. Some may have speech bubbles to say something about what is happening to them. Others turn into three-dimensional critters with recycled food containers as their bones, the armature upon which I build their features. I try to stay true to my theme of "turning toward the light"--staying positive in spite of the toughest barriers.
My materials and techniques vary based on what I want to achieve. I may include silks, cotton, canvas, embroidery floss, yarn, cardboard, paper, netting, fiberfill, as well as found objects. Techniques encompass machine couching, sewing, applique, hand embroidery, and crochet.
I have been having fun creating art since 1986 under the name “Galil Threadworks,” www.galilthreadworks.com (blog/website). Doodles morph into characters to populate my Sunday-funnies style fabric wall hangings. The figures also find their way into Judaic items commissioned for home and synagogue worship. Prayer shawls, hallah bread covers, and wedding canopies, which I made early on, were my first successes as a self-taught artist.
How did that jump from Judaics to comics happen? It wasn’t as big a gap as you might think. Initially, my imagination was captured through fantasy and fiction. I relished hunkering down under the covers at night as a child, flipping comic book pages or focusing on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Later, I lived the fantasy of traveling to exotic places, moving to the Middle East, to Israel, for 3 years.
After finishing my stint as northern Israel’s chief health educator, I settled in to nurse my newborn and design baby items to sell in Haifa. But, as a result of unexpected family issues, my husband and son and I had to wrench ourselves away from Israel and return to the U.S.
We settled in Maryland, where I became antsy and wanted to recapture and share my Israeli experiences: the scents of herbs and produce in the open markets, the beauty of wild flowers covering the hills beyond Haifa University, and the staccato in the Hebrew and Arabic spoken around me. But, how might I do this in a fresh, non-stereotypic way? Here is where I wove together the imaginings of my childhood and my real-life experiences.
In order to fully commit to the artwork, I created “Galil Threadworks,” my art business. I studied art instruction books, collected and reread the semester summaries from my children’s art teachers, scribbled in notebooks the likenesses of my kids on the playground. I also got hold of my husband’s photos of Israel to keep my memories fresh.
Out of all of this mental stew cooking together, I created ©LepreCohen images, using raw silk as my canvas, to populate my Judaic work. They are sparks of spiritual energy which are gender-neutral, and can travel anywhere in the universe. I put them in outer space, as well as in the Garden of Eden. And, funny thing, they resemble comic characters.
So, now I am in Pittsburgh. Through a series of unexpected and glorious experiences, I have felt artistically braver and on a roll, designing secular comic art in fabric. This all happened because I discovered the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh.
I have had the opportunity to serve as President of the Board of Directors of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh (FGP) during our immensely successful “Knit the Bridge” community project, decorating the Andy Warhol Bridge, top to bottom, in yarn panels and donating the laundered panels to social service organizations. Plus, I attended critiques, helped hang FGP shows, co-chaired a Guild show, had artwork accepted in some our Guild shows, as well others around the area.
The pull of the “idea wall” in my art office is ever-present. And I respond to it daily. Thank goodness.