Cloth is my medium of choice because it is tactile, easily manipulated, and allows itself to be altered in many different ways. I create my own cloth using a variety of surface design elements, usually building upon my previous creations by trying new techniques. Textural elements are important in my work because they pull the viewer in for a closer look at the art.
A piece of ‘canvas’ (linen, silk or cotton) becomes the working space for the conscious application of a planned thought, idea or emotion. Through dye and discharging agents, inks, paints, graphite and other media, my textile art gives dimension to feelings in the same way a poet draws us in through language. Hand-stitching, while adding layers and textures, brings a sense of meditation to the work, and machine stitching corrals an overarching cohesiveness. My art pieces are evocative, engaging and thought-provoking as you look closely into their creation and ever more broadly into their meaning.
In terms of creative influences, my Long Island origins and surroundings — about which I am passionate — are my muse and comprise my primary color palette of marsh, beach and wood. These influences and expressions form the basis for my mixed media textile art through which I explore life's questions and relationships.
Valerie Zeman’s introduction to the world of art came at an early age, when she was invited by a local artist into the solitude of a textile art studio. The scent of simmering, pungent dyes, along with skeins of thick turquoise and magenta wools, rug-hooking forms, and assorted spindles would lead Zeman to a life-long pursuit in making art.
Once an avocation, art has become Zeman’s vocation for the last twenty years. Throughout her career in art, she has availed herself of courses and workshops taught both here and abroad by such notables as Dorothy Caldwell, Claire Benn, Jane Dunnewold, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Elin Noble, and Joan Morris, among many others. Zeman’s work has appeared in galleries and juried exhibits in many Long Island venues, as well as in Manhattan. One of her works, Southold, recently appeared in the New York Times, announcing the “Squares” members’ show at the East End Arts Gallery, Riverhead. Zeman is affiliated with Surface Design Association, Studio Art Quilt Associates, East End Arts, Huntington Arts Council, Art League of Long Island, and the Textile Study Group of New York.
In addition, Zeman teaches workshops at her Long Island studio in such techniques as low water immersion dyeing, screen printing, arashi and itajame shibori, soy wax resist, breakdown printing and paper lamination.
All content on this website © 2016 Valerie Zeman
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