The IAP Grant from a Recipient's Point of View: Daren Pitts Redman

In light of the Individual Artist Program (IAP) grant opening in November, we thought it'd be a good idea to catch up with one of our past IAP recipients.  This month, we're speaking with Daren Pitts Redman, a fiber artist from Brown County and a FY11 IAP grant recipient in crafts.

Daren used her grant to create a body of work using fabric manipulated with the arashi shibori technique.  The fabric was then used to create a 3D interactive art installation at Wonderlab in Bloomington, Indiana.  Viewers are able to touch and reshape the installation to create their own artistic composition.

Indiana Arts Commission (IAC): Tell us a little bit about your work as an artist.

Daren Pitts Redman (DPR):  I hand dye cottons in solid colors and by using the traditional Japanese tie and die technique, shibori.  I use my photographs as inspiration for abstract quilted wall hangings.

IAC:  Why did you apply for a grant in FY2011?

DPR:  This is a way to challenge myself to create a new body of work.  It gets finished and viewed by the public.  The process allows me to design and create my art while coordinating an exhibit with curators and gallery directors that might not be possible without the IAP grant.

IAC:  You have received more than one IAP grant, what made you apply often?

DPR:  I enjoyed the process and creative time so much when I made the 3 large quilts series based on what I saw at the Eiteljorg Museum. Two summers ago, I took a 3D textile class through the Split Rock Arts Program at the University of Minnesota and wanted to use my new skills to make an installation.  This was a way for me to present an exhibit in my community.

IAC: How long have you been an artist?

DPR:  I started hand dyeing and quilting contemporary wall hangings in 2003.

IAC:  What is your creative process?

DPR:  I start with a photo, which I have taken of a landscape, sculptures or architecture.  I sketch simply and pick out fabrics from my stash of over 400 colors (mostly 1 yard pieces) and I build the quilt from the middle out.  I use color to make an impact, usually the pure colors and stop when I have completed the composition by intuitively cutting and sewing the fabric back together again.

IAC:  Are you a full-time artist?  If so, how did you get your start as an artist?

DPR:  I am in my studio in our back yard in Brown County about 15-20 hours a week.  The rest of the time I am working out, working in the yard, volunteering with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Studio Art Quilt Associates.  My husband and I travel 4-6 trips a year to see grandkids, family and the United States and Europe.

IAC:  How long did it take you to apply for the IAP grant?

DPR:  I spent 3 weeks thinking about what I wanted to do and made phone calls to Wonderlab and visited before I went online to complete the forms.  I wrote the requirements and answered the questions in Microsoft Word for three two-hour sessions at the computer.  I was on the IAC's online grant system for about 5 sessions after dinner during two weeks before the deadline, filling in the budget and uploading images.

IAC:  Besides the funding, are there other benefits of receiving an IAP grant?

DPR:  Working with the staff at Wonderlab and the public.  I met several adults and children during the opening of my interactive textile exhibit at Wonderlab. I learned how to hang and install for public interaction. I found out I needed 100 lb. Aircraft cable for the installation. There always seems to be a few things I never imagine I will need for my exhibit. I made available my Eiteljorg series to a non-profit so that they could raise money with the sale of the 3 quilts. The Christian Theological Seminary asked for them and they auctioned them off at a black tie gala, which my husband and I attended.

IAC:  Anything else you'd like to tell artists?

DPR:  I never dreamed of making the textile forms for the exhibit then going to install it with the help of Mike Voyles at Wonderlab would be so much fun.  I want to propose 3D textile installations to other museums. There does not seem to be much interactive exhibits with textiles. Most exhibits display signs that say "Do Not Touch Quilts." Creating a large textile exhibit with the IAP grant was a way to allow the public to touch my artwork. After we hung my show, I started thinking of how I could make more exhibits for the public to get involved with.

To see more of Daren Pitts Redman's work, visit