Leslie Pearson’s time-lapse videos document fiber art at work
By: Lauren Hodges - February 23, 2010

Unless one happens to live with an artist, it’s a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse at the creative process. Any artist showing off a finished work will inevitably encounter the following questions:

“How long did it take?”
“What did you use for this part?”
“What were you thinking when you made this?”

As they say, it’s not just the destination but also the journey.

“For me the process is almost more important than the finished piece,” Leslie Pearson, multimedia artist, says. “Because a single piece can easily take months, or even years, to complete. [It] becomes a meditative, ritual act or performance.”

Pearson, a graduate student at East Carolina University, studies textiles. With a home base in Wilmington, she is an avid experimenter, who loves to work with new materials, naturally incorporating a variety into her artwork.

“I am excited to see that boundaries are being crossed within all media,” she says. “Labels are almost a thing of the past. I find this to be especially true for artists working in fiber-based materials, because the the range of what is considered to be ‘fiber’ is so diverse.”

She keeps a busy studio in the downtown home she shares with her photographer husband. Once inside her creative space, she finds solace in the acts of hand-stitching and weaving.“The repetitious processes and handwork associated with fiber-based artwork is usually a very important aspect to the artist,” Pearson says.

So important, in fact, that she takes the time to document her woman-at-work moments. Using an automatic setting on her camera, she takes a picture of herself creating every 30 seconds, which she compiles and transforms into time-lapse videos.

“I find that the video showing the progress and the physicality of the artist-in-action is a key component to understanding the artwork: the time, the sacrifice, the dedication to completing something.”

But it’s not all painstaking discipline. Pearson enjoys every moment. “Let’s not forget the fun of using one’s own hands to make an idea into a tangible object,” she says.

Though she’s the only star so far of her homemade films, she is sure that plenty of Port-City fabric fanatics can relate to the process onscreen. When she isn’t making the commute to Greenville for school, Pearson has been busy curating an exhibit, featuring her fellow textile students from ECU. In fact, the travels she endures for an education were her main inspiration for the show.

“There are a lot of fiber-based artists in the Wilmington area, but there isn’t a program available locally,” she points out. “Perhaps this exhibition will even stir an interest in creating a textile program at UNCW.” When asked why the school would want to install textiles in their curriculum, Pearson couldn’t stop herself.

“The word ‘textiles’ itself is even being redefined in people’s minds. Once traditionally thought of as term for working in industry—wall paper design, fashion, fabric design—it’s now a broad umbrella for anyone working in fiber-based art.”

The broadness will soon be displayed on the walls of ACME Art Studios. The show, called “Materials and Methods,” is a group exhibition, featuring a mix of fiber-based artworks created by several professors and graduate students from East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design. An opening reception will be held on Friday, February 26th, from 6-9pm.

Leslie Pearson’s time-lapsed videos can be viewed on her Web site at www.lesliekpearson.com.

Featuring the fabric art and time-lapse videos of Leslie Pearson.
ACME Art Studio
711 N Fifth Street
February 26th • 6-9pm