Laurie Gundersen, utilitarian folk artist
a dyer, spinner, weaver, quilter and basket maker. Primarily self-taught, Laurie explores these various mediums by diving into materials close at hand. Fascinated by the creative ways of making folk art from scrap, she makes textiles reflecting the spirit and love for blending contemporary designs with traditional techniques.
Laurie has run a textile studio since 1980, originally in rural Lewis County, West Virginia. During the Art-to-Wear Movement of the 1980’s and 90’s, she designed and dyed clothing using the Japanese pattern-dyeing technique arashi-shibori or “pole-wrapping.” This took her to Japan and connected her to a culture which opened infinitely expanding boundaries and possibilities for creating textiles.
Presently, Laurie lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where she operates her studio/showroom, Appalachian Piecework, located at the Staunton depot. There, she organizes and utilizes materials she’s collected over the years alongside the textile collection and contemporary pieces that are ever-evolving. There are small pieced assemblages from hand-dyed fabrics, handsplit baskets, accessories and shibori dyed textiles. Within these pieces, she experiments with wood dyes and the wood itself. When she holds a hickory bark basket in her hands, she feels the tree comes through in the pieces. The yellow pigments from the osage orange wood, the deep browns from the walnut hull and the purples from the logwood impart such richness to whatever textile they touch. It is this richness she brings to her audience.