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Bob WilkersonThe Journey Back

Art has been a long trip for me. I began with fabric art, back in the 70’s. Everyone was making rugs. There were actually retail stores to sell only rug making supplies. One Rya rug interpretation of a watercolor done for architecture class and I was “hooked.”

Developing my own designs, I completed more than 50 pieces over the years. Looking back, it doesn’t sound like I was prolific, but when you consider the pieces were as large as “Wonder If,” which was 4 foot by 6 foot and took several thousand hours of work, it was a lot. In the end the time requirement became too much competition for supporting a family. My daughters swear that they grew up underneath a tapestry frame.

I settled into a series of primitive pieces that were born from sketches my daughters liked and a series of ladies. Portraits of ladies that captivate, the “My Lady” series began with my second rug piece, and ultimately, I would produce a dozen of these pieces, each with its distinct color palate. Despite their individuality, all would be characterized by the oversized hats and flowing hair. Different heights of yarn, with open and cut loops created a skin texture and visual depth that brought these surrealistic images to life. New pieces were finished less and less often, until around 1990 when my non-art work became so demanding that I stopped my artwork all together.

With the millennium, it was time for a change. I sold my company and decided to “get a life.” Work was still demanding, but the creative side began to beg for whatever spare time I could pull together. I simply did not want to go back to fiber art, so my wife suggested sculpture. I had recently returned to my Native American heritage and was drawn to art forms that reflected that. I’ve always been drawn to the art forms of the Northwestern tribes, particularly the carvings. The colors and reliefs reminded me of the tapestry I had created.

The Journey Forward: Carvings Emerge