published Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Artist found her calling in images on fabric course

trendsetting artists

Jan Chenoweth, 63

* Medium: Sculpture and painting

* Web site:

* Contact:

* Artist statement: "My work is primarily non-objective and at times abstract. It is a response to fragments that catch my vision and imagination. Using those fragments I explore tactile qualities of surfaces and rich, juicy colors."

Patricia De Leon Alfonso, 37

* Medium: Woodwork, painting, sculpting

* Web site:, www.chatta noogaarts

* Contact:

* Artist statement: "I work in the ancient medium of encaustic -- pigmented beeswax mixed with resin. Working methodically on wood panel, I build up hundreds of layers of color and texture using molten wax."

Peter DeLong Vaughn, 29

* Medium: Painter

* Contact: Tanner-Hill Gallery and www.delong

* Artist state-ment: "In a body of work from two years ago, I rhetorically considered the idea of whether or not I really believed in God. The answer must change how you view every mundane detail of your entire context. I found that a belief in God doesn't allow for just a shift in passive observation, but that it carries with it an inherent necessity for action."

Julie Whitehead knew as a child that art would be a major part of her life.

The local artist, known for her scarf creations and tie-dyed clothing, said her sister was her first mentor.

"I would see her drawing, and I wanted to be just like her, so I would draw, too," she said.

In the seventh grade at Girls Preparatory School, she realized she had talent.

"My classmates and I were introduced to so many different types of media including printmaking, watercolor and sculpture that I had never used before," Ms. Whitehead said. "I enjoyed what I was able to create while exploring the new techniques.

"I knew by my sophomore year that I wanted art to be a permanent fixture in my life. I only applied to one college my senior year -- Savannah College of Art and Design. Many of the professors were working artists and were or still are greatly involved in the art community."

Ms. Whitehead, 32, became interested in fiber arts when taking an introductory class.

"I immediately fell in love and decided fiber arts would be my major. I took classes in textile design, screenprinting, bookbinding, weaving, along with other interesting and often overlooked courses in fibers. The one class that really moved me creatively and mentally was images on fabric. This course introduced dye techniques on fabric."

Ms. Whitehead said the process allowed for "happy mistakes, which added a great deal to my infatuation with dying silk. There is a carefree attitude you develop when working with silk and dye. You can't correct a mistake, but you can make it work for you with a little ingenuity."

In addition to making pieces of art, Ms. Whitehead works as a stylist at Shaw Industries.

"I create color lines for commercial carpeting and aid in the design and execution of new products," she said. "It's a great job and adds to my artistry outside of work. I also have the wonderful opportunity of being a member of the Color Marketing Group through Shaw."

Ms. Whitehead's scarves and/or tie-dyed line are sold at several venues, including Umbra Essence in St. Elmo, The Handsel Company in Dalton, Ga., and Paradise Gardens in Summerville, Ga.

"I also have a Web site,, and attend several festivals throughout the year. Chattanooga Market has been a major venue for me. This will be my fourth year attending. I have dates listed on the Web site of where I will be throughout the year and the retail locations for purchasing the scarves are also available on the site."

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about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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