Carmen Alana Tibbets' Agosia Arts //Winter 2018
I grew up in rural New Mexico, south of Albuquerque, and learned to sew in Home Ec. classes and from family members. I’ve always felt an affinity for nature and decided to study microbiology and biochemistry at New Mexico State University. I went to graduate school at Arizona State University, where I worked with endangered species of native fishes, splitting my time between the genetics lab, work out in the field, and the sewing machine. I eaarned a Ph.D. in Biology and also managed to start a quilting guild at the university.
After moving to Illinois in 1998, I taught biology at the university level for six years, and during this time I realized how much I missed the West. I became more focused in following my own creative path when working with cloth, moved away from quilting (although I still make many quilts per year), and started making cloth figures. To maintain a connection with other enthusiasts, I teach a variety of classes that cover my diverse fiber-related interests: quilting, doll-making, nature/science as art, and natural dyeing workshops.
About My Work
I utilize traditional fiber art techniques to create one-of-a-kind artworks. I have many interests and inspirations: beautiful fabrics, historical clothing, animist and American folk-art, and the flora and fauna of the western United States. In my current work, I create cloth figures with human bodies, but with heads of birds or animals.
Each sculpture has a beetle companion - a nod to the millions of insects with whom we share the world. Although my work has been variously interpreted by others as nature spirits, voodoo dolls, or animal legends, I assign no particular message to the pieces. My goal is to capture the character of a species and translate it successfully into cloth.