A ‘spring awakening’

Minnesota mixed media textile artist Kelly L. Hendrickson lives by the motto “I wonder what would happen if…”

An exhibit of Hendrickson’s work, titled “Spring Awakening,” is on display through the end of the month at the KK Berge gallery in downtown Granite Falls.

Hendrickson said her textile art began in the traditional way.

“I started as a traditional quilter when I had my first grandchild,” Hendrickson said. On her website, Hendrickson said she’s a self-taught artist and has taken classes online and learned from others who are also members of groups with whom she participates.

“The Internet is an amazing thing for meeting other artists,” Hendrickson said.

She started experimenting with textile art after dyeing her first piece of fabric.

“I was fortunate to find a group that dyed their own fabrics,” Hendrickson said.

Then Hendrickson discovered art quilts and mixed media.

“That’s where I found home,” Hendrickson said about using mixed media in her work.

When planning a new piece of mixed media, Hendrickson said she turns to what she already has available.

“I have cupboards and cupboards of fabric,” she said. “Usually I start with my stash.” When she starts a work, Hendrickson said she pulls out the colors she is going to use.

Hendrickson said her textile art pretty much evolves as she’s working on it.

“I have a general idea in my head, but it can change as (I go),” Hendrickson said. “Sometimes I’ll find a new technique or tweak something.”

She’s inspired by her family, music, nature and new adventures to create her mixed-media pieces – finding the right color of fabric, dyeing the fabric and using the right items to put it all together.

“Just whatever grabs me one day,” she said. “Sometimes it can be a song title or a poem lyric.”

According to her biography on her website, Hendrickson said creating textile mixed media art changed the way she sees and feels about things around her.

One of her new series for this year is “Earth’s Amazing Wonders” – six pieces done in textiles of places she finds inspiring. One place is Antelope Canyon in Arizona.

“I am fascinated with some of the natural formations,” she said.

Hendrickson said she likes to put things in her work that the viewer wouldn’t see at first glance.

“I like for people to come up and engage with it,” Hendrickson said.

Sometimes when she’s working on a piece, she may have to hang it on her design wall and let it rest a little before she continues working on it.

Hendrickson said all of her art pieces mean something.

“For me, they’re all about a story,” she said. For example, the Pecan series she recently exhibited in Pine City is dedicated to her father, who grew pecans in Texas.

Hendrickson said she also likes to explore different things artistically. She had noted the artistic manhole covers by the Nicollet Mall and had recently taken a lino cutting class.

“I thought they would be gorgeous in lino cuts,” she said. Hendrickson got permission to use the images from the original artist and will do a series of 11 pieces on them.

Hendrickson has shown her works in several states, including New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado and Missouri and was in the Open European Quilt Championships 2013 in the Netherlands. She will have pieces at a show in London this spring.