Artists Statement: Joyce Watkins King
A child of the South and ancestor of Eli Whitney, I grew up in a small North Carolina town with a Mom who sewed my clothes as did her mother and grandmother before her. Learning to sew while I was in middle school was my introduction to soft sculpture, though I did not recognize it as such until I was in design school.
As a lifelong artist and designer, I have worked in many media, but the call of textiles always prevails. Textiles are part of my family history. They are a universal language that cuts across cultures worldwide, providing beauty, utility, identity, and symbols for special occasions: births, initiations, proms, ordinations, weddings, death. For me, fabric is also a metaphor for how many separate strands (fragile threads) can come together to make something strong and lasting--relationships, community, connections.
I strive to re-use thread, fabric, and findings in my work whenever possible, in opposition to the escalating trend of cheap fast fashion creation and consumption, with little regard for its consequences for growers, laborers, and our environment.