a young girl of ten
years busy with 4-H projects especially sewing and food preservation.
Picture that her resourcefulness and
ingrained work ethic blossom, and it
apparent to her that “making things and art” and “using everything” will become hallmarks of her life.
Judy finds it extraordinarily satisfying to piece patterns and use scraps, thread, and trims to make
a beautiful garment.
She realizes that her
uses what is “at hand,” and she allows time, her senses and intuitions, and artistic
energy to guide her work.
through the years and enter Judith Shamp’s
studio in her home in Houston
see the creative work area she has made
to hold her many
materials. Fabrics, trims,
gadgets, precious stones and buttons, colorful inks, sparkling do
dads, household materials
such as plastics and clips and recycled items, handmade papers,
visual images cut from all types
of photos and periodicals, and more
that spark her interest
They await her time and her patience
to define a motif
or theme, to
to creative works using many mediums and dimensions.
I have to admit, I walked into the studio and began to giggle because before me was a heavenly
vision of a huge work area in a room with natural
and overhead light, an
and exhibit space on walls and shelves.
Judy happily showed me a project that was in progress
large table top. Orderly storage bins and shelves, rolls of fabric, sheaves of paper in rows
and stacks filled the room along with family mementos and photographs and books.
and tools, beads, stones, leaves
and grasses, and a
sewing machine with organized thread
stood ready to be used by Judy.
Gently and in calm
sentences, Judy spoke
about her process.
I’ll let a shorter version of her artist statement express it here. Judy says:
My work is about disparate connections. These connections may be
through forming, cutting, collaging, stitching textiles or fiber such as scraps of
paper, or playing with real leaves and rocks. I bring to
gether pieces of
ephemera, added to or embedded into a base material
or small platform like
The bringing together may
be with thread, wire, yarn, or
filament. In the process of combining disparate found objects,
over metal, textile over paper, paint, gel medium, dyes, archival
ink pens are agents of transforming
that may bridge dialogue
with a viewer.
I am continually exploring
new approaches and materials.
underlying and recurring dreamlike themes that often hint of a collective
unconscious that presents itself as I "play" with symbols, repetitive designs,
and the emotion of color and texture. Often a mythic, story-like quality
presents itself as I play/work.
I draw upon a vast collection
of odd found
buttons, papers, cast off jewelry, trims and fabrics. It is like being on a
treasure hunt to create order from the chaos of this ephemera.
The act of art making, especially with textiles/fiber (everyday stuff)
and throwaways allows me
to make a spiritual association through the reuse,
rebirth, and redemption of the mundane
the castaways. Remembrances,
fleeting moments and conscious/unconscious connections emerge during the
As we toured the studio shelves and display areas,
many of Judy’s
works and learned
came into being. For example, Judy
bowls and other 3D objects fashioned from
hand-made paper. Shaping the paper pulp into objects and then adorning them with cast-off
items, such as old watch hands, not only challenged Judy but also made her delve more deeply
into the shapes and themes that were arising in
her mind as she handled the materials.
than not, her
explanations included gentle humor and
as she recounted how she
approached her art, always with patience and openness, and created
Judy talked about her life as a daughter, sister,
wife, mother, artist,
and how family homesteads and traditions and “I’ve
moments propelled her into artistic commissions, starting a flag-making business, and being
offered artist-in-residence opportunities
in California and England.
With an excited yet wise
voice, she said, “I know about
Jung and synchronicity and I’ve had serendipity in my life.” She
remarked that sometimes the opportunities required great strength, both mental and physical, and
lots of energy
and problem-solving. “I’m a night owl and I move and work the pieces
until...I don’t have an end view”
and she always completed the project and took pleasure from
solving the logistic, artistic, and practical problems that the works
will show you
several examples of Judy’s
work as well as
examples of her
work in dimensions for public buildings, conferences, and liturgies.
Judy’s education includes
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, Home Economics, Clothing and
with a Minor in
Dimensional Arts from San Jose State University, CA,
Master of Arts,
Mythology and Education Emphases, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara,
Her detailed resume
shows the breath of her work in fabric art, collage, quilting, liturgical
art, collaboration, and sculptural pieces. She has
completed national and international
commissions and been juror and judge on many occasions as well as having solo exhibitions.
Judy’s artistic record includes merit and best-of-show awards. During our visit she talked about
her varied residences, especially the artist residency at New Pacific Studio, Vallejo, CA. under
Director Dr. Kay Flavell in 2005, 2006, and 2012.
Also, she spoke movingly of the importance
and value of teaching art to young students and having the students make connections to art and
showed me many
personal belongings, and art works
during our visit.
more evocative than her
piece commemorating the NASA Challenger
disaster. As she explained
how the piece with plastic, thread,
rose petals, and other
is put together, Judy’s voice caught with emotion. “It’s all about remembering,”
said. The piece is tentatively titled
Challenger Memoriam I.
dried rose petals suspended in a beautiful, enclosed arrangement
a portion of the
Challenger’s payload. As we gazed on the sculpture, Judy
spoke softly about finding symbols
and meaning in every
day life and the
Magicicada - Fine Arts Fashion Award, Textiles and Costume Institute of MFA, Houston, TX
Read about our past featured member Peggy Sexton.