I began my textile journey 30 years ago, like many women, quilting squares of fabric together. Yet with each stitch, I longed for a more authentic way to express my experiences as a woman. Within a short time I abandoned traditional quilt patterns and sought my own subversive shapes and forms.
A textile scholarship led me further on the path of discovery, enabling me to break free and create mixed media pieces that captured the inspiring beauty of nature while other pieces highlighted the terror of war, hunger and violence against women.
I have followed these criss-crossing paths of beauty and pain throughout my artistic career, seeking to document “The Long Walk Home” that every woman travels in her life. If art captures meaning, then it is my hope that with each stitch my art shares an awareness about truths that needs to be told.
Debra Calkins is an artist whose textile artwork is shaped by both her life experience and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Utilizing a wide range of textile mediums, her art currently explores a diverse but interrelated themes of Without Apology, In Times of Change, Closer to the Truth, Intersections, Motions of the Heart, and Finding Home.
A graduate of the University of Washington Fiber Arts Program and a student of such leading textile artists as Jan Myers-Newberry, Liz Axford, David Walker and Joan Wolfham, her needle captures in thread and fabric a truth both gentle and subversive - a truly thought-provoking message relevant to our complex yet beautiful world today.