Not only do we have a special room for Diane Eyerman’s quilts, her work also attracts many visitors who walk into our humble gallery on West Water Street. After initially experiencing the magical feelings of seeing Diane’s quilts, the next best possible thing for me to do was to watch the video of her produced by Osha Studios. As I watched the video, which showcases Diane’s quilts as she narrates, I almost jotted down everything she said in preparation for this interview. Her work is so colorful and beautiful that it’s almost hard to imagine the obstacles she had to overcome in her life. So I hope this interview will expose Diane to rest of the world because she deserves it.
You decided to become a professional artist at the age of 40. What sparked your decision and was it intimidating for you to make the choice?
Since I was a young girl I was always creative. I started making homemade Christmas gifts for the family. Once I learned calligraphy, I created Christmas, Birthday and other holiday cards. I created each one by hand, one at a time. I also enjoyed doing embroidery, cross-stitch and anything with a needle and thread. When my son Matthew was born, I became interested in making quilts and began making traditional quilts. After a few years I became bored with making the same block over and over and wanted to challenge myself to do more. This was the transition when my “sewing room” became my “studio,” and in my mind I gained the courage to call myself an artist. This meant that I took my work more seriously. To break away from traditional quilts, I called my work innovative textile design.
For your Joy of Life series, you said that things ranging from ice cream and watermelon to clouds and sky bring you joy. What other things do you do for fun beside quilting?
I was raising a family and did not have much spare time. Quilting became what I did for fun along with taking classes, shopping for fabric and making friends with other quilters and artists.
There is something really liberating about cutting out different lines and shapes and piecing them together in an abstract form. Do you plan or sketch them ahead, or do you improvise?
For the Grief Quilt Series and the Joys of Life Series, all of the designs were planned and drawn out ahead of time. One of my challenges to myself for the Finding Voice Series was to work without a plan and only use hand dyed fabrics, which also meant that I had to learn how to dye fabric. It was amazing to see where the art would go, especially the larger pieces! I was learning to trust my instincts, believe in myself, and work intuitively.
You said that your favorite artwork is never a customer’s favorite. Are there certain ways that you would like the viewers to see your work?
I always believed that the fun of abstract work is that the viewer can see something totally different than I could. Just as it meant something to me, it can strike a chord and become personal to the viewer.
All your works explore the different stages of your life. How has your art changed in terms of technique and philosophy?
With each series, I grew as an artist and in a spiritual way, learning to pay attention and live with awareness.
Can you name some artists whose work have influenced you?
Margaret Anderson and Caryl Bryer Fallert are two artists that come to mind. I also love visiting the Columbus Museum of Art and The Wexner Center. Seeing what other artists were doing gave me the permission to create whatever I wanted.
What kind of things are you discovering as you have moved from quilting to writing poetry?
Writing poetry for me is my therapy. It is a place to put my feelings. The amazing thing is that a poem never ends the way I thought it would and I could say the same thing about my textile designs and that is the beauty of art in any form because it is the heart and soul of the artist.
One More Yellow Bloom by Diane Eyerman
One more yellow bloom
Is waving to me from the back yard
Even though today is
The last day of September
And fall is officially here
It’s cloudy, cool and blustery
A good day to stay indoors
It warms my heart
And makes me smile
To see one more yellow bloom
From my daylilies
Waving to me from the backyard
Interviewed by Connie Q.