Sylvia Vander Sluis

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My strength is in synthesizing many techniques and materials into a coherent whole. Color, design, and texture are most important to me - not narrative. Although my degrees are in painting, I’ve explored printmaking, handmade paper, fabric art and – most recently – improvisational weaving on both floor and table looms.

I love building up layers of form, color, and texture using a collage approach. I enjoy starting with a visual idea, then allowing it to evolve as I let the creative process and materials lead me. Some of my pieces form visual metaphors for aspects of nature, manmade objects, and emotional experiences. Sensual surfaces captivate me. The materials I work with often suggest their own subjects, whether they be whimsical or meditative.

My mediums have a broad range, including acrylic, organic materials, paper, and fiber. In my paintings, I often cut up and repurpose woodcuts, monotypes, handmade paper, and fabric art. The viewer can revel in wood chips and dried seaweed glued to the surface – as well as sink into deeper, more complex space created by translucent layers of paint and fibrous rice paper. I’m currently doing three- dimensional work using weaving techniques.

I have always been happiest pursuing a variety of interests and means of expression. I am comfortable operating in both my left and right brain. It has been a gift to be able to do artwork, creative writing, gardening, and be a business woman all at the same time. I also enjoy lots of outdoor activities, such as biking, skiing, and hiking.
— Sylvia Vander Sluis