Over the last twenty plus years, Carrie has been a freelance artist, art educator, and small-business owner. Carrie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art, with a concentration in Painting, from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1997. She then went on to receive a Masters of Education degree from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in 2006, along with a certification to teach art in k-12.
In 2012, she left her full-time art teacher job of 6 years, with the dream of expanding her own creative pursuits. She applied for a grant funded small business-initiative program, which was designed to breathe life into a little-used area of her local downtown. She was one of 5 recipients with small business ideas, who were granted a storefront space. Her space, named “Sewn to the Sky” became a store, studio and gallery, allowing her to make and sell her own work, as well as that of around 50 other local artists/artisans, and hold arts classes and special events there. She even taught traditional black and white photography there in a converted bathroom/ darkroom! She was the sole proprietor for an amazing 2 and a half years, and learned a lot about business ownership and life.
About a year later, she ended up at a special arts nonprofit, called Hart Gallery, where she worked for over three and a half years, while still working her art side hustle, often under her revised moniker, Sewn to the Sea (which was born as a way to distinguish her fine art printmaking work a.k.a. her “press” from her many other previous creative pursuits). Although she participated in various shows over the years, she began to develop her new style of printmaking work and exhibiting more seriously about four years ago. She was the selected poster design artist for Chattanooga’s nationally-recognized 4 Bridges Arts Festival in both 2016 & 2017, also winning a Juror’s prize in 2017, which was her first year as an exhibitor.
She stepped down from her Gallery Director position at HArt Gallery earlier in 2020 to pursue her own work full-time. She currently works as a professional artist, exhibiting her work locally and regionally, and continues to do arts education. She has been teaching art through grant-funded opportunities like Arts Build’s Artist-in-Residency Program and private and public instruction through Townsend Atelier, the Chattery, and other venues.
I have always had two different artistic personas inside of me. One of those loves Realism and tends toward the use of intentional line and value, and the other is drawn to Expression that relies on the purity and interplay of color, shape and a freer use of line. In this body of work, I have been able to explore all of these artistic impulses through the use of the modern printmaking technique of Gel Plate Monoprinting.
My monotypes are all done without the aid of a printing press. Using techniques and processes born of my own experimentation, I have adopted a complex multi-layer and puzzle-piecing process of hand-printing. I build each piece element-by-element as I go. Each shape/ line/ element is printed individually or in sections, with an individual piece being printed on anywhere from 5 to 50+ times! Sometimes I have an ordered plan, and other times, I let the materials express themselves in a more free-form way. An individual work can have been printed on anywhere from 5 to 50 times! Sometimes hand-brush work is also applied directly to the surface, further adding to their unique nature. The beauty and hardship of the monotype, is that you have only “one shot,” because there is no way to “back up” or erase. And due to the many steps and variables, the designs cannot be completely replicated.
There is no singular subject matter that my work centers around, rather, it is more of an abstract exploration of color and shape. I enjoy exploring ways of combining careful planning with experimentation, juxtaposing freer, more organic shapes and marks with more controlled geometric shapes and lines. On occasion, I loosely base the works on my photographs of natural phenomena and manmade construction, as well as on color-relationships to which I am drawn. Sometimes there are subtle references to pop culture or current (personal or world) events, but there is rarely an overt message. In the end, it’s just me deciphering the puzzle of my own aesthetic ideas.
This special process is my way of marrying my love for painting with my love of printmaking. It allows me to combine my interest in color theory and design with my sensibilities for more expressive and organic art making. The result is graphic-looking single-edition works that are essentially paintings on paper.