2006 Mary Caitlin Sellars

2006 ATA International Student Award Winner

Congratulations to Mary Caitlin Sellers who was awarded the first ATA International Student Award for her work accomplished while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Artist’s Biography

As a small child, I remember watching my great-grandmother weave on her counter balance loom, sparking my first interest in textiles. At her death at age 106, she passed the loom down to my mother, who gave it to me.  My first art class beyond the foundations level was pattern weaving, taken just so I could finally learn how to use the mysteriously complex machine in our basement. I immediately fell in love with the process, but wanted more creativity in expression than pattern weaving and the fibers curriculum at my school allowed. With that in mind, I transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University to learn tapestry weaving and haven’t been able to put down a shuttle since.


Artist’s Statement

Much of my aesthetic interest is occupied by the juxtaposition of the organic and inorganic. I like to take advantage of the strong horizontal weft movements inherent in weaving by using stripes, or in the case of my first tapestry, “The Bamboo is Dying”, depicting horizontal mini-blinds. The tranquil stripe pattern is then visually disrupted by an organic shape that becomes the focus of the composition. I am moving and expanding this imagery as I become comfortable with this medium and it is becoming more abstract and symbolic as I go. Now I am starting to see this organic/inorganic interest as a relation to my subconscious. The smooth stripes become the organized, focused thoughts I need to stay on top of my life: eat, breath, study, pay bills.  Distractions then pop up, involuntarily and unavoidably, keeping me creatively entertained. At first I fought the disruptions, thinking that I could be happier if I was more focused, symbolized in my second tapestry “State of Mind.” Here the colors are harsh and the bubbles and stripes fight for visual focus. As I worked on this piece, though, I changed my mind and decided that the distractions themselves were what kept me happy, as in my most recent work “State of Mind II.” In this piece I made the composition more flowing and the colors more soothing, in order to convey the comfort that I now feel, knowing a little better what’s going on in my head.