Interview by M. Bullette
For our second interview leading up to the 2016 Delaware Fun-A-Day, we asked Carol Maurer to describe her experience with Delaware Fun-A-Day. Learn how nature, movement, and textiles (even guerrilla yarn bombing!) play into her artwork - thank you, Carol!
We like to know how people are connected to Delaware - are you a resident, born and raised?
I moved to Hockessin 11 years ago from Swarthmore, PA, but - prior to living full time in New Castle County - I spent summers in Bethany.
How did you get introduced to Delaware Fun-A-Day? What or who inspired you to participate?
I do not recall how I first heard about Fun-A-Day but 3 years ago I create a Mouse-A-Day. I was unable to drop it off for the exhibition but it was so much fun committing to a daily creative experiment. Last year I created A Leaf-A-Day – I knitted a small leaf every morning (it became my February morning meditation) and attached them to cotton on an antique spool.
What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers?
Start with a small easy project. If the daily project is too daunting then you may give up.
How long have you been making art? How did you get started?
All my life… I received a light box when I was 5 to encourage my creativity.
Tell us more about your interest in labyrinths? Will you be walking the labyrinth at the Delaware Art Museum on the Winter Solstice Walk on December 22, 2015 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm?
When I lived in Swarthmore there were 2 labyrinths (one at the Presbyterian Church and one at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Study Center); I would walk them often. At the time I was a fitness instructor and I taught yoga and tai chi and I loved the connection of moving/walking meditation. I became involved in The Labyrinth Society, attending the annual Gathering and eventually joined the Board (I am currently Special Project Coordinator). 9 years ago a small groups of us approached the Delaware Art Museum to see if we could build a labyrinth in the reservoir of the Sculpture Garden. Using 7 tons of Delaware River rock, a group of volunteers installed a temporary labyrinth. The temporary labyrinth is still used by the community (it is open during daylight hours and free for the community to walk) and I continue to facilitate labyrinth walks.
How do you combat creative blocks?
The best way for me to combat creative blocks is to go out into nature – walking in the woods is especially grounding to me. I sometimes carry a small sketchbook and I like to find a good sitting space and doodle or write.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Life is not a dress rehearsal…do what you love. I know, boring but it is true!
Where did you get the inspiration for your project in 2015?
I have been playing more with embroidery and cross-stitch so I want to play a little more…
You do a lot of handwork (cross stitch, embroidery, knitting, etc., where did you first learn?
My mother never sat still, she had 5 children but she loved to express herself creatively. She taught me the skills of sewing, needlepoint and some basic embroidery stitches. My daughter taught me to knit when she was 9 on a long car ride home from Vermont.
Do you have a favorite place to be in Delaware? Any hidden gems we should make time to check out?
Delaware has many gems…I especially enjoy hiking the trails of Ashland Nature Center, sitting in the quarry at Winterthur, visiting Valley Gardens (a great place to walk, explore and picnic), and sitting in LOMA coffee enjoying Market Street and a great cup of coffee.
Please describe the project you're doing for Delaware Fun-A-Day 2016:
Originally I wanted to do a cross-stitch a day but I wasn’t exactly how I wanted to display/arrange them. So, wandering on the internet I came across an artist in Portland who was willing to hand cut small embroidery hoops (1”) so I have decided to create small embroidery pieces (including cross-stitch) on antique linen.
Do you have any other projects or events that you are working on?
I am easily bored so I am working on several projects… including training for at least 2 (maybe 3) walking pilgrimages - in Maryland, Paris, and possibly Pennsylvania. I am playing with the idea of incorporating movement, maps, and fibers together as a way of expressing the sense of place and travel. And I’m considering a few more yarn-bombing ideas.
Where can people check out more of your work?