Beth Carney, member of the Manhattan Quilters Guild, is a New York fiber artist who works in an improvisational manner exploring line, shape, color and motion to render dance in her art. Whether one calls them art quilts, fiber art, or contemporary art, her work revolves around a love of fabric, color, and improvisational piecing. The inspiration comes from the world around her and the people she has connected with in her journey as a textile artist.
Beth especially remembers her mother and grandmothers who instilled a passion to create with her hands. Because her mother was in the second graduating class of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Beth grew up with a love of sewing and the mantra “Don’t buy it, we can make it!”
Her strong draw to architecture is inherited from her father and grandfathers who were all "structural" engineers. They spent their professional lives building sound structures much as she does in her artwork.
Beth credits her BFA, with a major in dance, for her ability to work in an abstract, improvisational way. Her work has an energized focus of movement and line that seems to dance through space.
Her work has exhibited in several national and international juried exhibitions, including Quilt National 07, 09, 11, 15, 17, 19 and 21. In 2013 she had a solo show at the ArtQuilt Gallery in New York City. Several pieces are in private collections such as the Thomas Contemporary Quilt collection and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.
“I love every part of the process involved in creating my fiber art, starting with the use of fiber reactive procion dyes and varied dyeing techniques to create one of kind materials. The choice of color and texture begins the process, leading me into a conversation with the fabric about the design and context.
The end process of sitting at my Juki forming the last layer, the machine quilting is a joy. This layer enriches the energy and life of the work. As I sit there for hours quilting away, I am already beginning to form new ideas for the next piece.”
I take my life experiences as a dancer, choreographer and director melding them together in my textile art, constantly looking at the world with an openness to see different perspectives with focus and discipline. Each piece of me creates an essential element in my work. The dancer explores the movement, flow, and paths that your eyes follow as they dance around the work. The choreographer uses the line, spatial relationships between the parts and the play of color to create an image for the audience. The director creates the structure and controls the chaos. Art has always been a way to communicate with an open mind and willingness to express my vision intuitively and from my soul; sometimes serious other times with humor.