For artist Belinda Sigstad, intuition is everything. After years exploring artistic mediums, she found a home in fabric and pattern design. We talked with Belinda about what inspires her, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Meet our latest Featured Artist Belinda Sigstad, after the jump.
Where do you live?
I currently live in the Midwest in Swansea, IL, about 20 minutes from St. Louis, MO. My husband serves in the US Air Force and this area has been our home for about 4 years now.
When did you begin designing textiles? What inspired you to get started?
I have always had an infatuation with fabric. I was taught how to sew at a young age and my favorite part of sewing was picking out fabric for different projects. I jokingly call myself a fabric hoarder, but the truth is I have a stash of fabric that would probably make any sewing enthusiast giddy.
I’ve always had a fondness for doodling and making inky marks, but I’d say my inspiration started many years ago when I had a deep yearning to do art when I was attending college for a secretarial degree. When I got married after I graduated, I had a lot of time on my hands because my husband flew on Air Force missions. It was then that I really started to play around with different mediums and started to subscribe to Mary Engelbriet’s Home Companion magazine. That publication stopped printing a long time ago, but it was through those magazines that I was inspired to start my artistic journey. I had no idea what I was doing, but I started collecting art supplies, picked up art books, and started taking local art classes. I knew the direction I wanted to end up in was eventually fabric design, but I really wanted to learn about everything at that point so I started sketching, painting with watercolors, oils, acrylics, charcoal…really anything I could get my hands on.
As the military took us around the country through the years, I continued my art education online through different sources. Eventually I discovered Rachael Taylor’s Art and business of Surface Pattern Design. And that is really where I started getting serious about surface design and learning about the industry. It’s interesting to look back and see all the twists and turns that my creative journey has taken me and where it has led me to this point. The journey has truly been more of an instinctive pull than a career chase. I’ve trusted my intuition along the way and it eventually has led me to this point.
I’ve always had a fondness for doodling and making inky marks.
Tell us about your creative process. How has it evolved since it started?
My creative process is a messy one. I never quite know how things are going to end up, and I don’t like putting too much pressure on myself to create perfect patterns, otherwise I lose motivation. So I start loose, often times with a paint brush just making marks with watercolor or acrylic. Sometimes I just doodle or paint every possible idea that pops in my head. I find that a lot of times I have to get those initial ideas out of my head before the good stuff happens. After I’ve made a large range of marks and different motifs in various mediums, I can start to see how some will work in pattern format.
I’d say my process has definitely evolved since I started in the perspective of being more confident in experimenting, especially with texture. I love texture and learning different ways to make texture; and understanding how it can be interpreted within a design is really quite exciting for me. When texture is digitized, you don’t always know how it’s going to turn out and that element of surprise lends a special flair to the design.
What is your studio or workspace like? Do you have a routine when working in your studio?
My home studio has a large east facing window that glows with sunshine on most days. That light is essential in my creative process as I feel it warms my inspiration. When we moved in we renovated this room at the edge of our home and converted it into a designated creative space.
My routine for creating starts by simply opening up the window shades, taking a few deep breaths, and filling my water cups with fresh water. After that, anything is game, but painting marks is a large part of me beginning anything.
Where do you seek inspiration for new designs?
My life and surroundings have proven the most inspiring in creating designs. We have a large yard with lots of different plants and foliage. Often just walking around outside gets me inspired. I’m regularly inspired by quirky things like the pattern in bark and leaves, or the texture of sea shells I have collected through the years. I enjoy nature walks, gardening, studying flowers in my neighborhood, visiting our local botanical gardens and butterfly house, and visiting art galleries and art fairs.
I also have 2 daughters and their personalities and interests often influence my work. The majority of my inspiration comes from my own world, but I do enjoy observing what is currently perceived as trending in textile design, and I find that sometimes those trends make their way into my work.
Any trends you’re loving right now?
I’m currently loving the painted mark trend. It’s fun to see a pattern take shape from such a simple thing as an organic paint splash.
What is your favorite medium?
I have 2 favorite mediums at the moment, one is my gauche, and my other is my Pentel ink paint brushes.
Do you have a favorite textile treasure?
Actually, my absolute favorite textile is a remnant of vintage fabric that currently lives in my Great Grandma’s antique sewing machine drawer. It features bright yellow flowers on a cream background. Every once in a while I take it out just to feel it and then carefully put it back in its place. I treasure the creative heritage I have, and thinking about how that piece of fabric may have been used years ago is a reminder of that.
Favorite color combination?
I love color and experimenting with different palettes and hues, but I find myself often drawn to minty/aqua hues. One of my favorite colors combinations is minty aqua with pink and yellow.
Thanks so much for sharing with us Belinda! You can check out Belinda’s website, and be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!
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