Fiber artist Keats Scott uses Colorado landscape as inspiration
IF YOU GO
What: Opening reception with artist Keats Scott
When: Saturday, Oct. 8; 4–7 p.m.
Where: Arts Alive Gallery, La Cima Mall, 500 S Main St, Breckenridge
CONNECT WITH KEATS SCOTT
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Keats Scott is an avid hiker, capturing the colors and beauty of the mountains on her camera, and using the photos as inspiration for her vibrant, detailed quilts. Many of her pieces depict a scene of the Colorado landscape, using multi-colored fabrics and stitching to give them a visual texture, expressing an impressionistic interpretation of the world around her. With each quilt, whether a landscape or more whimsical pursuit, Scott works to make the scenes tell a story, using a collage technique of layering fabrics and stitching.
“My goal is to have a piece that is a pleasure to look at from a distance, but draws you in to look closer,” she writes in a book showcasing her work.
Scott is the October artist of the month at Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge. Her show will hang until Oct. 31, with an opening reception with the artist on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 4–7 p.m.
Using a collage method, Scott has a large design wall made out of Styrofoam installation in her studio. She starts by pinning a piece of muslin fabric on the wall in the approximate size of the finished piece, layering on the piece with more fabrics.
She sometimes uses commercial fabrics, but enjoys dyeing and painting the materials herself. She uses a technique called raw edge applique, with the raw edge term referring to the fact that the edges of the fabric are not turned under. The fabric has a fusible web on the back, which when ironed, will stay on another piece of fabric. The layers and stitching give the pieces added texture.
Scott is mostly self-taught, as when she started this type of work in the 1980s there weren’t many other artists using this method. She’s been with the Arts Alive Gallery for around 10 years.
Scott moved to Colorado with her husband after her family purchased a restaurant in Heeney. Her mother had gone to school in Denver, and growing up, her parents would take Scott and her three siblings on vacations to the mountains. It was her parents — and her own — dream to relocate to Colorado some day. The family was living in Chicago when her mother saw an ad for a restaurant and cabins for sale in the Chicago Tribune, which gave them the push they needed to pull the trigger and make their dream a reality. Scott and her siblings all followed.
“The whole family, there were 10 of us altogether with spouses,” she said.
They had the restaurant for 10 years, from ’78 to ’88. It was a very different lifestyle in Heeney from what Scott was used to, but one she continues to be thankful for.
“We lived in Chicago, and you didn’t even know your neighbors at all,” she said. “We knew the guy that lived downstairs from us but that was basically it. And then we moved to Heeney, and you are the center of the community and you know everybody.”
In ’87, Scott started working as a real estate agent, and created her own company, Colorado Dreams Broker, which she still does today.
Her work can be seen not only at the Arts Alive Gallery, but she is also a member of the Art Gallery at Keystone Lake, which she’s been a member of for six years. Her quilts can also be found at the Lower Blue Fire Protection Heeney Community Center and at the Silverthorne library.
Summit Daily News: How did you get into this type of work?
Keats Scott: I’ve been quilting for like 30 years. … I took classes, but what got me into landscape was probably 15 years ago I took a class in Estes Park, and the lady, she didn’t quilt hers she just used the fabric and glued it together and framed it. And I thought, ‘Oh, I can make this into a quilt.’ That’s what got me started.
SDN: How long does it take you to get through one quilt?
KS: People always ask that. The hard part is getting the design that you like. A lot of times it’s up on my design wall for weeks. I will sometimes be working on more than one, because you have to leave it and come back and look it and see if it’s OK. Once I’ve ironed it there and it’s fused on, and I take it down and start sewing on it, then it’s just a couple days to do the sewing part. The hard part is getting the design like I like it.
SDN: What inspires you when it comes to your work?
KS: My inspiration is where I live. It’s walking the dog, taking a hike and looking out the window. I feel so blessed to live in Colorado.
SDN: What are your other hobbies and interests besides your artwork?
KS: Travel. We went to Europe a few times. I always say sightseeing around Colorado is fun. … I cross-country ski, and I walk a lot, hike a lot. I also have a garden.
SDN: What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
KS: Just do it. … Not everything is the Mona Lisa. You just have to keep at it.
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