Virginia A. Spiegel exhibits in the U.S. and internationally in museums, art centers, and galleries. Her artwork is held in private and permanent collections and is featured in magazines and books. Spiegel is the founder of Fiberart For A Cause, raising over $230,000 for the American Cancer Society. Her book of essays is Wild at the Edges: Inspiration from a Creative Life.
My artwork, focusing on Nature and the environment, is most often collaged paper and/or cloth, multi-layered, and stitched. My artwork reflects the fact that beauty is in the details of Nature that take time to appreciate. I admire and attempt to emulate the power of Nature to make complex forms from simple materials and to endlessly recycle materials.
The main theme of my artwork is Nature observed teaches us about the brevity of our human lives and the cycles of life and death. I embrace the beauty found in decay and decomposition.
I open a dialogue about what/how I want to create by "making" my own cloth beginning with plain white or black cloth or upholstery fabric. I use hand-painting, screen and relief printing, and other surface design techniques to create cloth that already has a story attached to it before I begin collaging or stitching it. I use stitching, by hand and machine, to add texture, depth, and meaning. I work spontaneously, but with a one-sentence statement of purpose to guide me as I work on a specific artwork or series.
The nineteen wilderness canoeing trips I have taken with my sister since 2002 have greatly influenced my work. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (a million acres of wilderness along the Minnesota/Canadian border) is isolated, challenging, and full of inspiration. Much of my work is based on a specific place, emotion, and memory from our journeys expressed in an abstract landscape. Why the Boundary Waters?
When not working on a series, I often create one-off artwork to comment on environmental and social issues such as the avian slaughter caused by cell phone towers, over-consumption leading to excess garbage (see also The Garbage Day Project), and the reliance on computers over human contact. I also create land art; see my book, Ground Level.