Unleashing Creativity: The Inspiring Journey of Fiber Artist Betsy MeyerJun 25, 2023
[Note: After a four year battle with cancer, fiber Artist, Betsy Meyer, passed away on May 18, 2023, in Asheville, North Carolina. Her zest for life and endless creativity were an inspiration to all those who knew her. To honor and pay tribute to her creative life, we are reprinting the following article.]
Interview with Fiber Artist Betsy Meyer
Several years ago (2017) I had the good fortune of attending the Southern Highlands Guild 70th Anniversary Craft Show in Asheville, North Carolina and met up with fiber artist Betsy Meyer.
Meyer creates exquisite free form, woven wall art. Before her retirement, she was an award-winning kitchen and bath designer in Southampton, NY.
Betsy took some time out from her loom to answer a few questions about her current love, free form, woven wall art!
She is a prime example of how you can develop your creative outlet into a career — this has been a lifelong ‘thread’ in her endeavors.
Off the Loom with Fiber Artist Betsy Meyer
How and when did you first realize you are artistically inclined?
Well, I was crafty for what seems like forever, but was surrounded by artists and grew up understanding there was a BIG difference between creating ART and making things. Looking back, I realize that what I made began with a creative spark and that spark is what makes me an artist.
How were you introduced to weaving?
After I retired, I took an eight week Adult Ed class in weaving. Every aspect was frustrating. Once I finally got the loom set up and began to weave, it became clear that traditional weaving was not my thing.
Several years later, in December 2013, I visited a non-traditional weaving studio with some friends and was captivated with free form weaving from the moment I sat down to weave a few rows on the ‘community’ cloth in that studio. This chance encounter led me to my artistic calling, free form, woven wall art.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am challenged to create movement in my work which I accomplish through the use of color, texture, and unusual techniques.
What is the most unusual material you’ve used in your weaving?
I use repurposed old clothes, my hand spun art yarn, raffia, commercial yarns, and the most unusual item so far …. shreds of paper from party favors!
When you aren’t weaving, what else do you do to relax?
When I am not weaving, I renovate derelict houses, create gardens for these houses, read, and play Rummikub. Each of these activities is relaxing in its own way!
What do you like most about Asheville, North Carolina?
I have to admit that the moderate weather and the fact that I have a garden full of spring, summer, and fall flowers is a big thrill.
What advice would you give women who are trying to balance family and work?
It is crucial to give yourself permission to indulge in a favorite pastime, even if it means squeaking out bits and pieces of time to work on it. It’s amazing how we can rearrange our lives to make room for it.
In your previous life as a kitchen and bath designer, what were some of the benefits and challenges of being self-employed?
Being self-employed allowed me to use my energy to create wonderful environments for my clients without being side tracked by the rules and policies of an employer. I worked directly with my clients and vendors and was in control of each project from start to finish.
The personal satisfaction of seeing my visions become reality, coupled with the financial benefits of owning my own business were amazing and worth the challenges of long work hours and an overactive mind that niggled over design issues long into the night.
I went from an extremely detail-oriented profession to an extremely relaxed, unstructured form of self-expression when I became a free form weaver.
I would like to thank my mom, Betsy, for taking the time to share some insights into her creative mind!
If you would like to see some of Betsy’s work please check out her website.
[Note: This interview was originally published June 23, 2020, under the title, How Your Creative Outlet Can Become Your Career: Interview with Fiber Artist Betsy Meyer on my previous blog as well as Medium.com.]