Carol Shinn Short Biography and Statement


I have two main focuses in my work: landscape and the aging and decay of buildings and other human artifacts. I concentrate not only on tactile surfaces and the visual changes brought on by time, but also on the moods evoked by place. Equally of interest are the details that define a place and how they are revealed by the quality of light within the composition.

While both subjects can reveal the element of time, I find it is easier to express this with the depiction of human-made objects. Decay specifically evokes change, and gives me the opportunity to use a different palette of colors and textures than I typically use with landscape, as well as to use a different approach in defining the structure of place. It also may illicit more of a story.

My relationship to landscape feels more complex. I try to explore how it feels to be in a place and become part of it, however temporarily. Personal importance diminishes and is sometimes replaced by feelings of self-dissolution into place.

Artists are arbitrators of what is chosen and how imagery is represented. It is never possible for an artwork to be entirely objective. I try to be true to the quality of a place by the specificity of the details and quality of light while also using personal choices to influence the final image.


My process begins with photographs, which I take myself. I alter these on the computer, and transfer them to fabric. Then the piece is stitched with a basic sewing machine. None of the stitching process is computerized. The stitches, which completely cover my canvas, are like pencil hatching. I lower the feed dogs so that I can move the fabric freely as I sew to achieve the length and density of stitch wanted. Different colors of thread are layered throughout each piece to enrich the colors. The stitching is so dense that none of the original image or fabric shows.

I am from Fort Collins, CO and have worked in this technique for over 25 years. My BFA is from the University of Colorado and my MFA from Arizona State University. My work has been in numerous books and magazines and is in numerous public and private collections including the Museum of Art and Design, NY, NY, the Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI, the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ, Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, AZ and more. I was a prizewinner in the 2009 International Pfaff Embroidery Challenge and have authored Freestyle Machine Embroidery: Techniques and Inspiration of Fiber Art.