I love the concept of “place” and so my preferred subject matter is the landscape. My training as a cartographer has been useful in designing my fiber art, since both require understanding how people view and interpret colors, pattern and symbols. Classes in geography, geology, botany, oceanography, and other earth sciences have helped me understand the landscape and make artwork that “rings true.”
Currently my work focuses on exploring what makes fiber art so unique: texture, freedom of shape of the “canvas” (not limited to a rectangle), and employing three rather than two dimensions. Contemporary fiber art may incorporate mixed media. Any material is fair game in order to make my idea corporeal.
Fiber art appeals to me because my hands are always touching my materials; it is a completely tactile experience. My favorite technique is “thread painting”, where I move the fabric freely beneath the needle while machine stitching (being very careful not to stitch a finger!). Think of it as drawing a picture with the pencil held still and moving the paper; something that takes a lot of practice to do well. Thread painting is particularly well-suited to creating animals and foliage, allowing for shading and texture. I have a vast collection of threads, which are my “paintbox”. I also use acrylic fabric paint on my cloth for public art projects, so that it has the same longevity as a painting, while keeping the soft “hand” and wonderful tactile nature of fabric.
Eileen Doughty founded Doughty Designs in 1991 and has been creating commissioned work in the textile medium ever since. Her first public art project was in 1995. From 2002-06 Eileen was a regional co-representative for the international membership organization Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), and the Website Coordinator from 2004-2014. She has taught and lectured on various aspects of art quilts in several states, and has written numerous magazine articles on the subject. Her work is in private, public and corporate collections, including the John Wilson Building (City Hall) in Washington, DC, and Amazon Web Services in Herndon, Virginia, and has been exhibited on five continents. She is past president of the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild (founded in 1944), a member of the James Renwick Alliance, and past chairman of the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery (the first fiber art gallery in the Washington, DC metropolitan area) in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, Virginia.