Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Meet the Artists of the Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour: Jean Murray
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Meet the Artists of the Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour: Jean Murray

In honor of the 20th Annual Northeast Artists' Studio Tour, we've interviewed our super talented artists to share how they got where they are and why they make the work that they do.

Next up is textile artist Jean Murray. Jean's location is #21 on the tour at 3445 Locust Road, just north of Decorah. This year's tour is Friday through Sunday, October 13th to the 15th, with all locations on the tour open from 10am to 5pm each day.

Who are you and what kind of art do you make?

I am Jean Murray, my husband Tom, and I live north of Decorah on an acreage with outbuildings and an old farmhouse. I make fiber art.  Cloth and thread are the main components with some touches of paint and marker or an occasional hand made paper as a background.  I also make quilts, returning to the starting point in the fiber journey.

What’s your background? Briefly describe your path of becoming an artist.

I have always loved a project with a product at the end.  I dabbled in all sorts of crafts and settled into basket making when our boys were young.  Necessity led me to quilts, a tiny guest room for my mother needed color and a bed cover. All that color and texture led me away from baskets.  After making traditional quilts for years I started to want to make the images that were caught in my memory. Now I also make small scenes and birds from fabric using thread painting for embellishment.

What do you enjoy most about being an artist? What part of your process do you most enjoying doing?

It's the process, finding the subject and searching for the way to make it all work.  A happy solution for a problem may be my favorite part of my work.

What inspires you?

Inspiration comes from all over, color, travel, stories, birds.  I would like to try a small mammal next, backyard chipmunks?

Describe what we’ll see when we come to your studio. How do we get to your studio?

I am fortunate to have a small building set on a rise behind our house, the views from the windows are lovely in all seasons.  For the tour, all my work is out on the walls or tables.  Color everywhere, I love seeing it all at once.  I am easy to find, about 0.8 mile north of Locust at 3445 Locust Rd.

More about the Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour:

The Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to explore artists studios for an intimate look into their creative process and a chance to purchase their newest works right out of the kiln, hot off the presses, paint freshly cured...you get the point! This year, you can experience 51 artists at 38 locations while also taking in the charm of Northeast Iowa's small communities, local fare, and the breathtaking scenery of the Driftless. Each artist is different, but they all share a passion for imagination and each one welcomes their guests with gusto. Visit the Tour's website to download a brochure, map, or GPS coordinates for each location.

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