Painting on Fabric

Pat Pauly’s transition to textile art
“So, why aren’t you a painter?” I’m often asked. Well, true, I do paint on fabric with dye, and present it two dimensionally, as if it were a painting on a wall. Yes, my background is in fine arts, but my career in textile arts started in 1981. I discovered that working with textiles, to construct, deconstruct, rearrange – essentially shift the material in a fluid way – is nothing I could do with a painting.  I’ve no predetermined, stretched-canvas size, and no width-of-the-loom restriction for my work, which is how I like it.  
Using thickened dye, directly or printed, gives me the texture, color, and pattern that I crave. Starting with white fabric, I may monoprint or paint with a scraper for the effect I need. When I have a group of fabrics, I select my pallet and start to join and separate apart. At times, I want a specific image, like leaves. For other works, I will use themes, like the time of day – coffee break, happy hour, nine to five – to illustrate through textiles. Often, one fabric joins another to reveal a shape that I want to highlight or repeat. So, the driver for the work is the fabric itself.
Having no family history of quilting put me at an advantage when I started working in fiber. I had no preconceived ideas for spacing through blocks, patterning, or fabric choice. My approach was to paint, only with permission I gave myself for placement and composition. These works are quilted, held in three layers with stitch. I’ve paid attention to the history of handwork and craft, and am drawn to the fiber world. Plus, my work references traditional quilts in that way; pieced, quilted. I often lecture on the influence of traditional textile arts to contemporary art quilts. But for me, these works are solely my expression of the world.  
To learn more about Pat, visit, where she posts daily, where you will find her influences, work, and ramblings. Her web site is


Please signup or login to comment