Her short Bio here tells a bit of her story; we wanted to know a bit more!
Textiles have defined my
world since the age of
8. From work clothing
to costume design,
dyeing and construction
to quilting to hand and
art quilting to three-
dimensional works, my
"happy place" has always
been the sewing room. I
have practiced these
skills as a student as well
as working at Living
History Farms, freelance
costuming, competitive costuming, dance wear. My works are
primarily thread and cloth, with occasional beads and armatures. Janet
is the former Iowa Representative of theStudio of Art Quilt
Associates and exhibits in several locations most recently at the Des
Moines Botanical Gardens.
Janet’s work has been juried into or featured in national magazines, the
Iowa State fair, IQA show in Houston, Texas, the AQS show in Des
Moines, a traveling exhibit through Studio Arts Quilts.
IAG-The above Poppy wall hanging of Janet Bergeron’s hangs in my
home’s entry way, I have known Janet for almost three years now and
am amazed by her energy and creative mind that is always buzzing with
I know you had an early start using a sewing machine, when did you
start making creative projects (art) using one?
Janet Begeron-I started sewing
when I was 8 or 9 with cross
stitching on preprinted tea
towels. I made most of my
clothes in high school, and the
first few years of working. I was
named Betty Crocker
“Homemaker of Tomorrow” for
my home county.
Then I got a job wiring
telephones and really missed
making things with sewing.
My first present from my folks after getting a job was a sewing
machine. Soon I had the machine out to make clothes,
I started making belly dancing costumes. After I became known for
making those, I made Halloween costumes, science fiction costumes,
and all kinds of unusual garments. You see, I am dyslexic and so my
brain is wired differently from your average sewer.
Two art quilting origin stories come to mind:
I had a friend dying of AIDS. His friends and I designed a panel for
the aids quilt in his honor. We designed it and I made it. About the
same time, I watched a show about Hawaiian quilting on public
television. I started a king-sized hand appliqué quilt from a pattern my
brother brought back from Hawaii. It took me 10 years to get it done,
but I learned a lot from that project, most importantly that my sewing
and costuming skills apply directly to making art.
IAG- You seem to get your get your ideas from everyday objects and
places. How do you put the process of idea to finished project?
Janet Bergeron- Ideas, hmmm, my ideas come a million different ways,
art, fabric, and challenges or submissions to shows. For example, I have
some embroidered birds at home, and some Japanese fabrics and want
to use dye to create some new yardage.
IAG- I have also noticed that you often incorporate hand dyed fabric as
well as hand embellishments. It makes the work unique. Tell me about
how you decide to use these elements?
Janet- Where I start seldom translates directly to the solution.
Everything changes according to the way I feel about the project as it
goes along. My drawings are the beginning, not the end, unless I have a
totally completed idea, like my self-portrait where I went so far as to
make a final drawing and then cut pattern from freezer paper and used
that method for exact reproduction of the original image.
Hand dyed fabrics play a large role in many of my pieces because I love
texture that is not recognizable as a pattern. Plus, you can get so many
interesting color changes that inspire new ideas. For example, the
Mustang coming out of the sunrise really gets its impact from the hand
dyed yellow in to orange fabric. Or the sky in the windmill.
IAG- Right now you are working on a submission of a self-portrait. I love
that it has distinct left brain right brain differences, is quite abstract,
but still looks like you! Tell us your process on this one?
Janet- Originally, I drew my face very simply with a ruler, but then I
shifted the two sides, added color, and suddenly the face started
coming to life.
IAG- Plans for work in the future?
Janet- My plans are to work on more unique jackets, kites for the
Greenfield kite themed show, making new work in the style of tiny
pieces in an abstract style, and continue to learn, teach, and enter