Janet is a self taught fiber artist.  Her interest in the form began in the early 1990's when she discovered examples of contemporary Japanese sashiko.  Since then, her work has appeared in a number of regional, national, and international exhibits.  Janet's formal education in the liberal arts informs much of her work, and reflects her continuing interest in literature, music, and the nuances of language.

    “Simplify, simplify.”  This advice from Henry David Thoreau in some ways defines her design philosophy.  For Janet, simplifying an idea--reducing to the bones--is both the great challenge and the great joy.

    Color, on the other hand, gets the opposite treatment.  Here she strives for expansiveness, richness, and abundance.  A sharp contrast between simple lines and complex color is her aim. Her recent works are heavily textured, and constructed primarily of her hand dyed fabrics.

    It is through texture--the quilting motif for the most part--that she strives to pull together aspects of line, form, and color.  Nearly all of her pieces are hand rather than machine quilted.  A typical work involves between 40 and 75 hours of hand quilting.  Why does she do it?  She enjoys both the process and the outcome.  Hand quilting creates shadow and loft that she finds impossible to reproduce by machine.  And she loves the hands on, up close, very personal business of hand working her way through the layers and across the surface.  “It is in this step of my art that I find tranquility,” she says.

    Janet’s influences are many:  music, literature, language play, and of course the natural world all exert their power, and she is quite happy to be pushed around and challenged by them.


Janet Hiller

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