Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I get high-resolution images of your work for my publication?
Just email us a request. You can use the contact form.
Q: How do you describe your art?
Deb: We always think about what kind of story we want to tell. It’s all about getting some story across to the viewer.
Kris: Our work has gotten more issue-oriented as we take up new projects. I think that’s why we’ve been working with text – putting words in different contexts as well as using them as a design element.
Q: Why cloth?
Deb: It’s just a part of who I am. My mother taught me how to sew, and fabric has been an important part of my life. I sewed my own clothes, and when I was in college, I started weaving as well. How people turn fiber into the many things it can become has always fascinated me. Maybe I could say what I want to say in another medium, but this is my medium.
Kris: Why cloth? Because you can’t wrap yourself up in granite! Actually, I like belonging to that community of women who have told stories in cloth for centuries.
Deb: I think that’s why we belong to the organizations we belong to. We get so much support from fellow artists and teachers.
Q: How did you get started?
Kris: We met in college – German Club to be exact. That was way back in 1978, which means we have a long history together!
Deb: Then Kris seemed to move all over the place, which was great because that meant I had somewhere to travel to. We would always do artsy things when we were together, and that includes going to lots of museums.
Kris: We had been friends for over twenty-five years when we finally decided to join forces, throw off the shackles of employment, and become starving yet happy artists. Since we had both been teachers, we also knew we would enjoy teaching what we love to do — sew and play on the computer.
Deb: And so the Pixeladies were born in 2003.
Q: How did you get the name Pixeladies?
Deb: The “pixel” is the smallest element of an image on your computer screen. And “pixilated” with an “i” means eccentric, whimsical, and, yes, tipsy. How fitting a name, we thought!
Kris: People sometimes call us the Pixie Ladies, but we quickly remind them that we’re too fat to be pixies. And if you can’t remember who is who, just remember that I am taller than Deb.
Deb: Yeah, by half an inch! But she’s older, so she’ll be shrinking soon enough.
Kris: Hey, younger by 14 months will not make up that difference before we’re 85!
Q: Who are your major influences?
Deb: I love Alice Neel. I love the outlines in her paintings. I’d also like to be brave enough like Alice to do a nude self-portrait when I’m 80! I would also want to mention Faith Ringgold – her story quilts are fascinating. Because the Pixeladies met in German Club, I should mention a German artist, so my favorite would be Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. I’m attracted to his “degenerate” use of color.
Kris: It depends on the day and what art I was recently looking at. I love the way Fernando Botero reworks classic art with his particular perspective. As for the Pixeladies-we-must-talk-German-art question, I admire Hannah Höch’s pioneering use of photomontage. I think I see some of her social criticism in our work. However, nothing makes me stand in awe as I do in front of a painting by Albrecht Dürer. I strive to achieve that technical brilliance.
Q: What’s it like to collaborate?
Kris: We’ll let you know after we stop arguing about what to say! Actually, our friend says we have complementary skill sets. Neither one of us felt like tackling art as a business on our own. The job seemed rather daunting.
Deb: We have also come to realize that art need not be an isolated endeavor. Through the collaborative process we draw out each other’s talents in surprising ways. Collaboration is sometimes challenging but amazingly stimulating and productive. And what Kris said. I didn’t want to do this on my own either.
Q: What do you teach?
Deb: We teach online Photoshop classes. We have developed a distinctive way of teaching that helps fiber artists and sewing enthusiasts exploit the power of Photoshop Elements.
Kris: In other words, we know how to translate that techie speak into quilt-speak. But anyone can learn with our easy-to-understand format.
Deb: And with our online classes, I like that we can serve a lot of people who geographically aren’t able to come to us. It’s great to watch students as they learn to take advantage of the technology to enhance their work. I don’t like that we can’t see our students’ faces. That means that we miss visual cues, so we have to rely on the students’ questions to determine how well a particular lesson is going and whether we need to make any adjustments.
Q: Do you ever give presentations and/or teach at guilds?
Deb: We used to teach at guilds all the time, but we decided to concentrate on Photoshop classes. However, if you are interested in us coming to your guild, just ask us.
Kris: Yes, we’d be happy to talk to you about the possibility. Just drop us a line. You can use the contact form.
Q: Why did you write a book?
Kris: I’m a writer at heart. I love to write. In the early days of the Pixeladies, I guess I felt a little something was missing. Deb realized this and kept saying, “We gotta write a book!” With so much on our plate, I wasn’t sure we could pull it off, so I was somewhat resistant.
Deb: But then we went to a meeting at the Northern California Quilt Council. The topic was publishing and the different avenues available to publish in our field. C&T Publishing was there and encouraged us all to submit proposals to them and to just call them if we wanted more guidance. Well, we took them up on their offer, and they loved the furoshiki idea. We did, too, because it’s about fabric at its simplest and most beautiful. Furoshiki Fabric Wraps was published in February 2012.
Kris: The best thing is, we have lots of ideas for future books. And, let’s face it, name recognition grows with the publication of a book. We still do need to eat (despite what we said earlier about pixies).
Q: What’s in the future for the Pixeladies?
Deb: I would like to explore actual movement in cloth using technology. I’ve been researching the use of fiber optics in fabric, too. I want to see if these new technologies can enhance our storytelling in cloth.
Kris: I want to write more on art quilts. That’s kind of a funny answer since we’re visual artists, but not enough people write about the quilt as art. And, the more people appreciate the quilt as art, the more we will be able to show our work as art. And I want to keep teaching and creating art.