The best way to describe Carole Fure is “spritely.” Her bright nature matches the bright colors she loves to use for her artwork. Fure is the Burnett Area Art Group’s current featured artist at the Northwest Passage Gallery.
Fure’s medium is fiber and textiles. “I have come to appreciate how much I enjoy color,” she says. “I consider fabric my paint pallet.” Her artwork focuses on three elements: color, geometrics, and three-dimension.
Her style evolved as she grew up learning needlework with her sisters. “My mom was an excellent seamstress, which I did not inherit,” she admits with her ever-present sense of humor. Her first experience with art was quilting. “When I went shopping with my children while they were little, I would first stop at the magazine rack and buy them each a little Golden Book to keep them occupied,” she recalled. “One time, I purchased a magazine for myself, and in it was a quilt.”
In the mid-70s, there was a resurgence of quilting during the nation’s bicentennial. Fure taught herself and “did her own thing” creating quilts because they were functional. “Mom gifted me with a ‘can do' attitude; if you think you can, you can.”
Over the next 45 years – 30 of which were spent as a registered nurse – Fure’s style evolved as she no longer thought quilts had to be functional, just visually pleasing. “I seldom used a pattern and, in 1998, I wrote a quilt book describing a process by which quilters could explore their own designs.”
She bought and studied books by well-known artists she considers her early “mentors,” although she didn’t actually take classes. She was inspired by Jinny Beyer, Michael James, and Caryl Bryer Fallert whose work she saw online and at quilt shows. “I loved the way they used color,”
Her work won awards. “I was juried into the National Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky, and I won Viewers’ Choice and Teachers’ Choice at the Minnesota Quilt Show – that was many years ago.”
Moving forward artistically, Fure created pictorial quilts using an innovative process called “tulle applique.” During that time, she started incorporating three-dimensional components. “Then I began doing three-dimensional fabric weaving art pieces which were considered “wall quilts.” And she took that a step further, adding geometric fiber art.
Fure says her artistic process “is very free-flowing. I say to myself ‘what if’ I change this, ‘what if’ I cut this up and rearrange it. The biggest lesson for me is to trust my own intuition,” she says. “I always learn something in the process. Then I adapt my new experience into my next work.”
A permanent resident of Burnett County since 1990, Fure joined the Burnett Area Arts Group in 2000 when a friend told her about a batik class. “The biggest advantage I’ve found in belonging to BAAG is the guidance and support in finding your own self-expression,” she says. “But in the end, it’s our own self-acceptance that is most important.”
She described the piece she’s currently working on for BAAG’s 2nd annual Winter Challenge: animals and insects as the theme for artwork. “I like the butterfly. To me, it means ‘if you want to fly, you have to learn to let go.’ That’s the hard part. [The butterfly is] made of fabric. The organza is fused to the top of another fabric, then to a stabilizer so I can shape it.”
What’s next? “I’m planning on sandwiching different fibers, threads, yarn string, etc., between two layers of water-soluble stabilizers and stitching them in place,” says Fure. “I should end up with a lacy network of some sort. I have no idea what I will do with it or how to use it. That’s the evolutionary discovery process. The discovery moment is the ‘AHA!’ moment that brings such satisfaction!”
Fure’s work will be exhibited throughout this spring and summer at the Northwest Passage Gallery located one mile south of Webster off St. Rd. 35. The Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. April – September. For additional information visit the websites burnettareaartsgroup.org, or nwpgallery.org; email email@example.com, or call 608.695.2626.