Published on August 12, 2015. Interview by 2015 Summer Intern, Aly Hancock: Maggie Stein has exhibited with New City Arts at the WVTF and Radio IQ Studio Gallery and in Home: A New City Arts Group Show. I am excited to introduce her as the next participant in our 7x7x7 Series.
Name one of your favorite Charlottesville places to take an out-of-town visitor.
I love walking with visitors around Grounds – especially the gardens on each side of the Lawn – because it’s such a beautiful, historical site that I tend to take for granted. (I work at UVA, so walking across Grounds is part of my daily commute.)
Who is one living human who inspires your practice?
Chawne Kimber. She is the artist who inspired me to start quilting! Also, she manages to balance an incredibly demanding full-time job with her artistic endeavors. She is constantly producing work that is thoughtful, chaotic, beautiful, and interesting. I find her appetite for new and more challenging projects to be such an inspiration, and her output is humbling.
Explain your artistic work in seven words.
Let me play with all the fabrics!
What role, if any, have mentors played in your artistic practice?
I haven’t had any formal mentors, but I’m constantly discovering new-to-me makers online, and the amount of information they share on their blogs and support/encouragement in the online maker community blows me away.
Describe your ideal environment for creative work.
Somewhere well-lit with a big surface to spread out work if I need to cut/pin/arrange things. There will also be entertainment (music, television, movie, podcast, someone reading out loud) nearby. It’s also nice to have a dedicated space for work – so I can walk away from a project and return to it without a huge amount of hassle.
How has your practice changed over time?
It’s constantly changing! It adapts to my schedule and to my creative whims. And the recurring question of whether this is something I’m doing for fun or something I’m doing to make money on the side. It’s tough to satisfy both demands with a single project, so I’m very particular about the paying projects I take on – I know they’re going to cut into my personal sewing time. But, I enjoy the mix – it’s good for me to have both structured, focused sewing AND chaotic black holes of discovery.
What would you like to see more of in Charlottesville to support artists in our community?
More retailers or public spaces that proudly display and sell local work at all price points. I love the work New City Arts already does to encourage a community of curators – I’d like to see more of that. Also, I’d love to see a business support group for creatives – a place for them to work through the boundaries between work and play, to set goals and hold each other accountable, and to help increase the business skillset that tends to be less developed in creative types.
Maggie Stein started quilting in 2009, when she was searching for a creative hobby to counterbalance her job as a University administrator. She makes modern quilts with vibrant color and graphic designs. You can see a few examples in her online shop.
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