Artist Spotlight: Vicki Essig

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Vicki Essig is fascinated with light and translucency, the contrast between the fragile, and the strong. With natural materials, she shows the small and delicate as the powerful and significant. Vicki’s work is comprised of fine handwoven fiber, usually silk, horsehair and other natural materials. Occasionally, she uses spun stainless steel and other man made fibers. Living in Western NC, Vicki is surrounded and inspired by nature.  Her daily hikes yield a wealth of small found objects that are often incorporated into her weavings. The final product is framed with double glass, allowing for the intricate piece to remain transparent. Vicki hopes that the viewer is, at least for a moment, lost in the discovery the minute, the quiet of repetition, and the beauty of nature and pattern.

Vicki grew up in grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and now lives in Asheville (NC) with her husband and fellow artist, Daniel Essig.  Vicki has studied at Haywood Community College, John C. Campbell Folk School and Penland School of Craft.

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How did you get started as an artist?
Twenty plus years ago when I moved to the area I was looking for a way to connect with my community. I thought a class at the local college was the answer. After perusing the catalog I decided to take a weaving class. Since my teens I had been interested, watching a neighbor weave with sticks and grass somehow had stayed with me. The weaving class turned into a full time curriculum, which I loved. Happily I succeeded and after surrounding myself with other creative people, I learned to be fed by the creative process.

What five words best describe your work?
Quiet, contemplative, intricate, thoughtful, memory, narrative.

Tell us a bit about your technique.
I start with a very fine silk. This is constant in all of my pieces. I thread the loom with the same quietness that I hope resonates from my work. Most days I spend partially outside in the woods collecting objects for future inspiration.

What is a typical workday like for you?
Winding a warp, choosing just the right pattern and threading the loom. I look through a very large magnifying glass when creating my work and get lost in that small place. It feels good when I make just what I needed to.

What do you listen to while your work?
Birds mostly, sometimes jazz or a book on tape.

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
Community, creativity, confidence and compassion are my favorite things in almost all aspects of my life. Making supplies all of these things for me.


Images via Vicki Essig.

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