About artist Linda Fjeldsted Blust
Hi, I'm Linda Fjeldsted Blust. Welcome to my Menagerie.
I am captivated by birds. I watch them for hours and am fascinated by their personalities. They visit me in my dreams and seem to speak to me without words.
I work with textiles and enjoy the challenge of turning flat fabric into a 3-dimensional creature, then layering more fabric for texture, and adding trims and found objects to create charm and personality.
Each sculpture is modeled on a real species, but I am more interested in artistic interpretation than in duplicating reality. As I begin each project I strive to ensure that the shape and proportions are correct and the piece is sturdy and balanced. But once I’m satisfied with the basic structure, I surrender control and proceed on pure instinct.
As I test and reject various embellishments, the bird’s gender and personality begin to materialize. But it’s not something I plan. It's almost as if the bird is telling me who it is, and I am simply the obedient conduit. The final product is as much a surprise to me as it is to the viewer.
I'm a textile artist living in the high desert near Reno, Nevada, USA. I've been working with fabric my entire life, creating everything from clothing to handbags to ballroom dance costumes to elaborate custom Christmas stockings. Nowadays, I work almost exclusively with three-dimensional fabric sculpture.
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was a child, so I guess I can credit (blame?) her for my lifelong obsession with making things from fabric. She also shared with me her love of animals, nature and gardening. And when she passed on, she left me her collection of vintage buttons, lace and ribbons, as well as her antique Pfaff sewing machine, which is still one of my prized possessions.
I studied art in college, and dreamed of turning my sewn creations into artwork. But times were different then, and I was told by my teachers and fellow students that anything made with a needle and thread would never been taken seriously as art. Sewing, they said, was "women's work" and therefore worthless. So while I continued to take art classes for enjoyment, I changed my major to journalism, and after graduation I spent the next few decades working for newspapers in Northern California.
Journalism was a wonderful career that I will never regret, but I was happiest during off-work hours spent in my sewing room playing with fabric, making handbags, kitchen items, and clothing, which I sometimes sold at craft fairs and consignment shops.
Then one day a friend talked me into taking some ballroom dance classes, which gave birth to a new obsession. When we entered some dance competitions, I of course made my own costumes. To my surprise, other dancers offered me money to make costumes for them, and soon I had a nice little side business going. Eventually, I retired from journalism, moved to Las Vegas, and became a full-time ballroom costume designer. Here are some of my costume creations.
The ballroom world is a wonderful, busy, whirlwind scene, and I enjoyed being part of it until 2014, when my husband retired and we decided to move to Reno. I am now a happily semi-retired textile artist, finally able to set my imagination free and enjoy the sheer thrill of creativity for its own sake.
I am inspired by the wildlife and natural beauty that surrounds me. Our house is located across the street from a creek, and not far from a wetlands sanctuary. Coyotes and wild horses wander through the neighborhood. Pelicans, Canada geese, ducks, egrets and herons nest nearby, and our backyard feeders attract quail, chickadees, gold finches, yellowhead and redwing blackbirds and flickers, while hawks, owls and eagles fly overhead.
From my sewing room window, I can see the snow-topped Sierra Nevada range to the west, and the rugged Virginia Range to the east.
These natural wonders are my daily inspiration as I mold, stuff and twist colorful bits of fabric and wire into animal shapes, and then embellish them with sparkly rhinestones, buttons, feathers, paint, silk flowers, and colorful string. These crazy critters seem to have minds of their own, and I never know how they'll turn out, so each completed work is a surprise.
I look forward to sharing my creations with you, and I hope they'll inspire you in your own creative endeavors.