Buffie Finkel

Art Quilts

My artistic background…I was raised in Ann Arbor Michigan by two teachers—my father was an archeologist / professor and my mother was a graphic artist who painted and crafted with my sister and I as we grew up.


Early on I found ease and pleasure in the same activities. I was a painter for many years out of school, usually finding photographs of landscapes with compelling light that beckoned me to mimic. I didn’t take any art classes until after I left college, when I studied sculpture--mostly wood, pottery, painting and artistic theory. I married, had my first child, and moved to Washington state, eventually settling in Yelm, still painting whenever I had the chance!


Between running a small family and a small hobby farm, I learned stonemasonry, mosaic work and even had my own landscape design company for several years. Turns out I love playing in the mud, and in my thirties I found pottery and shared a large studio with a friend, where I loved throwing, hand carving, and hand building fun creations.


My painting never stopped, but other mediums obviously called me. I designed and built our home in 2007 in Yelm, and included stone, mosaic work and joyful color in this “large scale sculpture.” That experience was remarkable, as it was a collaboration between my vision and the talents of may skilled local craftsmen and artists.


Concurrent with building the house, I rediscovered a love of sewing. My daughter was moving out of town, and asked me to pick up a poster of Seattle for her to take with her…I said to myself, a poster is not significant enough, and dove in to make my first Art Quilt—a landscape piece where I “interpreted” the Seattle Skyline, using fun fabrics and colors. This piece is still one of my favorites, even as it is quite, by my standards today, rough and clumsy, and I have not looked back!


In the ensuing 11 years, the tools of my other mediums have been relegated to smaller and smaller storage places, and my fabric collection has expanded exponentially. When my husband and I moved to Olympia in 2014, I wanted a studio that was in the center of the house—so that is what I have today—I’ve got the entire family room, with adjacent storeroom, a big rolling work table and two sewing machines! Life circles around this space 75% of the time, and I spend my days cutting, ironing, crafting and sewing.


The question of favorite subject matter comes up a lot in artist questionnaires and I will say the same thing many other artists say—light. The way the light gleams at sunset, or dusk, or on a foggy day…these all intrigue and inspire me. And in working with fabric, this is quite tricky. Murphy often shows up in the process, despite my attempts to banish this belief—the precise color I need to capture the atmosphere, is often NOT in my collection…but this is simply a challenge to overcome, never a barrier!


More recently I have rediscovered yet another of my old enjoyments: architecture! My current works (Fall 2018) are fun interpretations of front doors of homes or beautiful buildings like churches or state buildings. Right now, they are being decorated with seasonal swag, but this may wane in the spring, who knows? I call them all Fairy Doors, but they can be whatever the collector desires them to be. I enjoy the exploration of line, balance and color, not to mention whimsy. I am also exploring larger pieces which tell stories about current buildings and their history and or evolution, even as I continue to reflect our gorgeous seasonal landscapes and activities in large and small art quilts.

As of February 2019 I've chosen to "clean up my act" in the fabric department.  I have committed to henceforth make my art quilts from only “found” materials—no more buying new fabric.  I don’t wish to contribute to the terrible industrial pollution which is the result of fabric and fashion production.  By current estimates, these two industries are second only to oil in how much they damage the waterways and fill up our landfills.  So, my art evolves. It’s a personal statement, for now, but I know more is to be revealed.  Thank you. 

Facebook: Buffie Finkle