Influenced by her home state of Hawaii and her experience working in the interior design field, Gina Bacon Kerr uses watercolor and printmaking to create lush textile designs.  Read on to meet Gina in this week’s installment of our Featured Artist series.

Where do you live?

I have lived in Kane’ohe, O’ahu, Hawai’i almost my whole life. My family and I have always lived close to the foot of the Ko’olau mountain range.

When did you begin designing textiles?

At the University of Hawaii. I focused on handweaving, so my journey began there, understanding and designing textile structures that were capable of carrying pattern and still remain stable. Surface pattern and repeats were more weaver focused.

How pieces fit together to create pattern is more a result of using and making accordion folded books. The segue between the pages is a thoughtful process that opened a lot of possibilities.

What inspired you to get started?

After many years of working in the interior design world, I was looking for a way to create designs that would support the design of the room, while maintaining an engaging interaction when looked at up close.

When I say “support the room”, I am referring to designs that play well with others.  All the features of the room need to support a focus so that an overall experience is created. Draperies are background support, but when we get closer we want there to be some engagement to add to the depth of experience. Rooms unfold in layers. Perhaps the drapery layer is not playfully engaged until the evening, when they are closed, and the design revealed.

Tell us about your creative process.

Basically, I show up to a blank page with a paint-ladened brush. I want to have an enjoyable quiet time for a bit. Or, I am at a print studio playing with a print matrix, inks, and a press.

I have sketches and paintings of my intended direction close at hand, although I try not to refer to them in order to get a quick freshness to the marks.

Gina Bacon Kerr Final-3

How has your process changed since you started?

I am more conscious of where things line up and how I want elements to interact in a pattern. I search for more complexity that will allow more color play yet still remain an interesting accessible background motif.

What is your studio or workspace like?

My sketches are my “workspace”. When I’m printing, I’m usually in at the community studio of Honolulu Printmakers, in Honolulu.

Gina Bacon Kerr Final

Do you have a routine when working in your studio?

I need a morning that is relaxed, clean water, wet arches, or lanaquarelle paper, and a few mark-making implements and paints.

When printmaking, there is a long tradition of procedures that need to be followed, so the elements of image creation are more difficult. It is very much like watercolor in that you show up to the surface where the image is recorded with all the focus at the tip of your brush, or pencil, or stylus – open to every possibility of that next mark leading you forward with the push and pull of what delights you.

Where do you seek inspiration for new designs?

Right now, I’m focused on Hawaiian island motifs and qualities that can be expressed in my watercolory style. Flowers are always a big draw for me; I’m challenging myself to pull them into a painterly style that is somewhat narrative, yet highly abstracted.

Last November I spent 27 days in museums and galleries in various parts of America, experiencing works across time and cultures. Those motifs and subjects will pop up in sketches and patterns.

Gina Bacon Kerr Final-2

Do you have a favorite textile treasure?

I do! I have a stunning handwoven piece made by a local weaver. Woven from sewing thread, it is a structural net background with sumac rectangular shapes applied as design.

Favorite color combination?

Every color is fair game for play!

Thanks for sharing your inspirations with us, Gina!  Customize and shop Gina’s designs for sale on WeaveUp here.

Shop Gina Bacon Kerr