Pat Littlefield grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
in South Carolina. She attended Florida State University where she
studied music and art. After two years she transferred to the University
of South Carolina from which she graduated with a B.A. in Art, cum
laude, Phi Beta Kappa. While attending graduate school at East
Carolina University she began to study weaving. This was the beginning
of her interest in fiber.
In 1975 she turned her efforts entirely to her fiber work and
developed a line of fantasy soft sculpture. Further study and experimenting
led to papermaking.† The
result has been the intricate collage/constructions which reflect
both her painting and fiber background
Papermaking is an art that traces its roots to China. Any type
of vegetable matter can be used to make paper. Patís work is made
primarily from abaca, a plant similar to the banana plant. The abaca
is purchased as semi-processed linters. These are hydrated and beaten
into a pulp. The pulp is dyed and placed into small containers.
Each paper piece is formed by placing layers of the colored pulp
over each other until the piece is finished. Flax is also used in
the process. Twigs, reeds, tampico grass, muslin and other materials
are sandwiched between the layers of pulp. The images start out
as digital photographs. They are downloaded into the computer and
combined and changed in various ways to coordinate with the paper.
Most of the colors and compositions in the work are derived
from observation of the immediate environment Ė mountains and sky,
buttes and adobe architecture, flowers of the garden and field,
forests in shadow and light.††† What is the best way to frame these artworks? The piece should
be hinge mounted on an acid free matboard or other backing. Protect
the piece by using a glass or plexi-glas facing unless you arenít
worried about dust accumulation. The facing should be separated
from the artwork so that it doesnít press tightly against it. This
can be accomplished with the use of mats or spacers(wood or plastic
are the most common). As a general rule you should treat a piece
of handmade paper artwork similar to other art works on paper such
as watercolors and prints.
"When I was born I must have clutched the first fiber object
around because I have been a 'fiber person' all my life. When I
was a kid I used to collect old curtains and fabric scraps from
friends and family and pin or tie them together to make costumes.
Especially cherished were the old pattern books and wall paper sample
books that stores saved for me. I first learned to draw by copying
different clothing styles and textures of fabric to draw my own
clothes. My mother showed me how to cut, bend and glue the wall
paper to make interior settings and later how to sew both by hand
and machine. Although I studied painting in school it was never
quite enough-just too flat. When I discovered weaving and then papermaking
a whole new world opened up for me. Lately I have been working on
some felted pieces and find it very exciting."
†" My hope is that each piece gives you a lifetime
of pleasure and thought provoking observation."