Laura Seligman was 15 years old when she decided to pick up a brush, dab it in acrylic, and paint a rooster on a large canvas.
Of her rudimentary beginning, she recalls, “I have no idea how it came to be since I definitely did not consider myself an artist.”
But Seligman’s mother, who painted regularly with a group of friends in her living room, may have helped inspire her daughter – later on, she accepted her daughter’s challenge to take her own talent to a higher level. “My mother liked to paint, but didn’t take it seriously until I challenged her to take art classes at the Art Students League in New York,” she says. “She did, and is still painting today, 40 years later.”
Seligman wasn’t a trained artist at first, but in time came to crave it.
“I came to art-making later in life without a background in art school. At some point it became clear that more formal training would help me think about my work in a new way,” she says. “When I lived in Los Angeles, I was very fortunate to study with artists who taught me how to draw, paint and experiment with materials.”
Over the years, she’s honed her talents through (among other educational opportunities) local workshops, studies with out-of-town artists, and by joining quilt guilds.
“In my mid-40’s I saw my first art quilt in a museum. It was exhilarating! This experience inspired me to take quilting classes and learn how to dye fabric.”
A woman in the Quilt Guild there first noticed my work and told me I was an artist, not just a quilter, and to follow my heart. I never forgot that encouragement.”
Eventually, Seligman had a dye studio outside her Rochester, NY. residence.
“I work in a variety of media and don’t limit myself to textiles, although this will be featured at Art Hop,” says Seligman, who has been a photographer for five decades. “I will also have photographs, paintings and marbled cards with a variety of price points.”
Among textile creations that Seligman will feature at Westside Art Hop are hand-felted scarves she creates using an ancient process; scarves that are collages of merino wool and specialty yarns as well as hand-dyed silks and beads. She describes some of her work as an exploration in color, fluid lines, and texture through the luminosity and richness of the materials.
“Some silks are smooth and lustrous while others are wispy. Felt has density and substance,” she explains. “Visual texture is a primary feature in my oil paintings,encaustic paintings and photographs.
Laura Seligman continues the expansion of her creative horizons with seemingly boundless zest.
“I am working with cold wax and oil paint to create visual texture, which directly grew out of my experience with textiles,” she says. “I am also exploring encaustic, a hot wax technique, by adding texture with papers and fabric.”
She looks forward to Saturday’s Westside Art Hop, calling it a community-wide event that celebrates local artists.
“It offers a more personal way to spend time getting to know an artist.”
Laura Seligman, who will be showing as a visiting artist at Washington Street Gallery starting in December, is or has been affiliated with organizations including the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild, where she served as co-vice-president from 2003-2004, Ann Arbor Women Artists, Fibers Art Network of Michigan and Surface Design Association Michigan.
Her participation in juried shows and exhibitions have taken her to New York, Kentucky, Ohio, and more than 20 locations in Michigan.
For more information on Laura Seligman:
Phone: (734) 649-2777
WESTSIDE ART HOP
Multiply your fall colors and enjoy high quality art and crafts on the West Side of Ann Arbor at the annual Westside Art Hop, a local art walk in neighborhood homes, studios, porches, garages and yards on Saturday, Oct 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere, you can stroll around and explore artwork ranging from cards and gifts at $3 or $4, to spectacular fine art at $500 and up. Westside Art Hop is easily walkable, with venues from First Street to Soule, mostly housing two or more artists – the largest with about 10 exhibitors is at Gretchen’s House Childcare Center, 700 Mount Vernon Ave, 48103. Art Hop maps are available online and local street signage provided a few days ahead. Parking is easy, on street or at Eberwhite or Bach schools – more options on the map online.