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Art Maker: Laura Bundesen, fiber artist

  • Fiber artist Laura Bundesen creates what she calls “neuro art” in the studio of her Huntington home. GAZETTE STAFF/ KEVIN GUTTING

  • Fiber artist Laura Bundesen of Huntington wears a pendant she created the day before featuring an embroidered image of a brain. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Works of "neuro art" created by fiber artist Laura Bundesen of Huntington. The two pieces are mounted side-by-side in her studio but Bundesen said each could also stand alone. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A work of "neuro art" created by fiber artist Laura Bundesen of Huntington. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A work of "neuro art" created by fiber artist Laura Bundesen of Huntington. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Fiber artist Laura Bundesen works in the studio of her Huntington home on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Fiber artist Laura Bundesen creates what she terms "neuro art" in the studio of her Huntington home on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Fiber artist Laura Bundesen works in the studio of her Huntington home on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING


Friday, September 15, 2017

Laura Bundesen has long used paint, fabric and thread to make an array of quilts, wall hangings, note cards and other objets d’art. But over the past couple of years, the Huntington artist has been involved in a different project: exploring the human brain through color and texture.

   One of her “Neuro Art” pieces was selected to be part of a major art exhibition in Toronto, Canada this past summer; the show was designed to help raise awareness about brain health and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Bundesen, who visited Toronto in August, said all 100 of these brain sculptures — of many different varieties — were displayed on the streets. 

“Each of the pieces [told] a story of connection and disconnection as the artists focused on Alzheimer’s, while creating their own forms,” she says. “Seeing the pieces with the city in the backdrop just made it even more exciting.”

Hampshire Life: Talk about the work you’re currently doing. What does it involve, and what are you trying to achieve?

Laura Bundesen: With my Neuro Art pieces, I start by drawing out the brain form on raw canvas; then I collage with fabric, trim and hand embroidery, working intuitively and improvising as I go. Finally, I stretch the canvas and paint around the fiber work. My goal is to inspire others to think about the brain in a different way and to provide inspirational imagery to people with brain disease or injury.

H.L.: What do you draw inspiration from?

L.B.: I’m especially inspired by people I’ve met who have shared their stories with me, like the mom whose daughter had brain surgery as a young girl to stop her seizures, and by all the people who live with or help care for someone with dementia or mental illness. 

H.L.: Have you ever had a “mistake” – a project that seemed to be going south – turn into a wonderful discovery instead?

L.B.: My first embroidered painting was created 25 years ago. Embroidery was my only technique then. I was working on a piece that had a woman’s face in it and I couldn’t get it to look the way I wanted using only thread. I had one of those “ah-ha” moments and pulled out a paintbrush. It worked — and I’ve never looked back.

H.L.: Name two artists you admire or who have influenced your work. What about their art appeals to you?

L.B.: Georgia O’Keefe and Faith Ringgold. Georgia O’Keefe’s colors are so incredibly vibrant, and both her flower forms and desert landscapes have complex lines that appear fluid and seamless. One of my abstract paintings started as an improvised embroidered flower that became my “Ode to O’Keefe.” And Faith Ringgold uses fabric and paint to tell stories that are both personal and political. She is a fearless explorer, with fabric as her primary medium. 

H.L.: Dream dinner party: Who would you invite?

L.B.: Shankar Vedantam, the social science correspondent for NPR and host of “Hidden Brain”; neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, who experienced and wrote about her own stroke; Jenny Lawson (aka the Bloggess), author of “Furiously Happy,” and my current favorite listen while I’m working in the studio: professor John Medina on “Your Best Brain: The Science of Brain Improvement” from the series “The Great Courses.” And my good friend Lorraine Zaloom because she always asks really interesting questions!

— Steve Pfarrer