Artist Profile: Denise Samuels

Game boards, postcards, and discarded books. In this week’s Artist Profile, we meet Denise Samuels who believes anything made from paper, can be Sherri+show+piece+(3)[20382]turned into beautiful and intricate works of art.

Who are you?

“I’m Denise Samuels and live as much as possible in Traverse City for the last seven years. I received my BFA and MFA from the University of Michigan and taught art for 29 years at Cranbrook Kingswood Schools in the Detroit area. I’m also a wife and mother of two. And, the latest thing I can add to this list, much to my surprise, is I’m a peony farmer.”

How did you get started?

“I’m a maker of things. I’ve always been a maker of things it’s a lifelong obsession of mine. If I don’t have a project like painting, collaging, printmaking, sculpture of some kind, or even knitting, I just feel totally lost.”

What is your favorite medium?

“I use my paint in printed papers that I created and save for years. I use rice paper, recycled cardboard, packaging, and board games to create and sew parts together to create a whole much like a quilt. It is made with parts that are measured, cut, arranged, and sewn to create a new story and experience.”

What is your inspiration?

“My work has always been about seeking control, order, and comfort. It’s the basis of my mental health and I consider it my drug of choice. The deep satisfaction I derived in lines shapes and forms fit together into hope, it just why keep doing it. The pieces I create are a reflection of my life with ups and downs, chance, events, and a search for what is genuinely me. It speaks to where I fit in – the use of repetition represents the reassurance of the familiar and the predictable.”

What do you want people to take from your work?

“In general, I’d like people to see that work in fiber and sculpture has a more expanded definition on a more personal level. I hope that viewers find the comfort in predictability that I derive from my work as well as amusement and joy.”

To learn more about Denise, click here.

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