Biography: Pamela Palma is an artist and designer whose work focuses on fiber as a means of artist expression. An accomplished weaver and dyer, she developed a love for yarn and fabric in her childhood, learning to sew and knit before kindergarten.
Her art works encompass the expansive range possible in art fabrics: conceptual tapestries, social commentary, mixed media, complex weave structures as wall panels, wearables, and most recently, a line of domestic textiles.
An accidental weaver, she bypassed numerous opportunities in that field until college, where her undergrad program required Design in Fibers – which meant weaving. It was then that she fell in love with the process.
Pamela says, “Weaving is magical! Although complicated to dress the loom, it is a system that has worked since before the beginning of time. It allows the artist to create functional and decorative art using yarn interlaced ingeniously on looms.
“When I am at the loom I am transducing the continuum of time-space, weaving the past into the future through the present.”
Her work elevates the techniques of weaving in to the fine art known as fiber art.
Pamela Palma is a resident artist at the Bakehouse Art Complex where she designs and creates with all sorts of fiber related materials and processes. With a fleet of looms, and incredible patience, she is able to impart her skills on students of all ages. She is the Founding Director of Fantastic Fibers Miami, a guild for fiber artiists. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Tapestry Alliance, an international organization that promotes the art of tapestry through exhibitions, catalogs, awards and scholarships.
Her work reflects places she has lived and visited, mythologies of feminie dieties, and political commentaries. VIsit her studio, # 41 at the Bakehouse Art Complex.
Show highlights: Museo Textil de Oaxaca, Oaxaca Mexico
Armory Art Center of West Palm Beach, Florida
Florida CraftArt Gallery, St. Petersburg, Florida
ArtRage Gallery, Syracuse, New York
Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Biggs Museum, Dover, Delaware
Do you make a career out of or hope to make a career out of art, or is it a sideline for you?
I am a professional artist.
Art *is* my life. I work at it every day.
What is it about your work that makes it speak to people or to the community at large?
Fiber has unique qualities that inherently attract people. We are swaddled from birth to death in cloth. Our bodies are in constant contact with fiber so subconsciously we are drawn to it. Throughout history, hand woven fabrics have denoted wealth, privilege, social status; it can provide shelter, serve as bodily protection; it keeps us cool or warm; it can be highly decorative or very plain; it moves ships across oceans; it is currently usedby NASA for the space program. In a word, it is versatile. Hand woven tapestries, monumental, intricately woven over the course of many years, graced the walls of castles; mummies are wrapped in woven linen. It is so commonplace we often neglect to think about it. Like air – we breathe constantly but rarely consider it.
All of these uses of fabric are recorded in our subconscious, in our DNA. I am able to express visually, conceptually and traditionally within the intricacies of fiber what others cannot do with paint or hard materials.
The tactile qualities, lush textures, interplay of colors resonate when experienced in real time. The relevance of the works I create in fiber cause people to think beyond the surface. My work is real, thoughtful meaningful, be it contemporary in approach or traditional in appearance.This is what makes my art speak.
How do you let people know about your work and your shows?
I am a 25-year resident of Miami Beach with an extensive network of friends, colleagues, artists, art organizations. I attend many opeingings and events around town. I maintain an active email list with monthly newsletters. I post continuously on Facebook and Instagram and on my website.
I have an artist page on the Bakehouse website
and on the American Tapestry Alliance website:
I am represented by online Gallery Number Nine: http://www.gallerynumbernine.net/the-artists/pamela-palma/
I exhibit my work in galleries, museums, art centers locally, regionally nationally and internationally. I keep an active presence in the art communities here and elsewhere.
What do you feel inspires you to make art in the particular medium you have chosen?
I was born with the inclination to work with fiber. Sewing and knitting came easily to me. I have worked as a potter and a painter but throughout my life, I have always continued to use some form of fiber to express my creativity. Clothing design usinf fabrics I have printed, painted, stitched, embroidered, embellsihed, or cloth that I have woven or knitted. Decorative and functional accessories: designing and producing table linens, pillows, throws, wall hangings, tapestries. My work is always one-of-a-kind. I have designed for shops, boutiques, furniture stores. My passion for weaving developed in adulthood when I returned to college. There is a certain magic to the entire process. It is pleasurable, tactile, rewarding, meditative, and not everyone can do it! It is a gift, my special talent and I am grateful to be able to share it with the world. Weaving keeps us grounded in our history as humans. It is older than time and always exists across all cultures.
Why not Miami? The colors of the sky, the sea, the bay, the foliage – tremendous! It never snows. The community is supportive of artists.
I never get tired of the ocean. My commute takes me across the bay. The panoramas are incredible. I have woven tapestries of Miami Beach. The tropics are so inspiring! I focus on presenting aesthetically pleasing work to remind us all that beauty is everywhere and it makes life worthwhile.
Do you have a favorite artist from the past or present?
Yes, I am my favorite artist. Why? Because I know that what I do is amazing. My work is beautiful. I am highly skilled in many areas of textiles and design and I am dedicated to elevating the field of Fiber Art to audiences in South Florida.
I do not feel the need to present angst, destruction, moral bankruptcy in my art. My art is real. It makes people feel good. We need more of that. We need to feel good. That is why we are here.
If someone wanted to get into being an artist, what would be your first suggestion to them?
Learn everything you can about your medium. Art is more than just smearing paint on canvase. Learn about design, color interaction. Find beauty where ever you go. We do not need more people to raise awareness of ugliness, destruction, cruelty. We create our world by our thought and out actions. The human form is hard wired in its need to be surrounded by goodness and beauty. Choose the world you wish to live in and create it through your art. Be a champion, be kind.
Testimonial: I appreciate all the efforts of Life Is Art to enhance and promote the work of artists in the South Florida community. Thank you! And thank you for t his opportunity to present my work! –Pamela Palma
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