“My practice right now involves going as slowly as possible,” begins the bio of Priscilla Carrion, a contemporary visual and textile artist who credits daydreaming about new futures and long walks with her dogs for helping her throughout the pandemic. An artist working in both paint and fabric, Carrion’s watercolors are like vibrant collages and her stitched quilts are a lively mix of patterns and fabrics. She is currently exhibiting her quilts at the BankRI Pitman Street Gallery, and in July, both her quilts and watercolors will be at the BankRI Turks Head Gallery.
Carrion embraces and celebrates the humble nature of quilting in her own way. She notes being drawn to the idea of community, of women gathering to create something larger than themselves, and the handmade endeavor appeals to her DIY sensibilities to make something useful that is also considered art. Carrion likens a quilt to a painting for your bed, and says that while people like her grandmothers and aunts would not call themselves textile artists, they have created some of the most masterful pieces she’s ever seen. “Recycling bits and pieces of old things into newer, stronger shapes rules,” says Carrion of the craft considered the earliest form of upcycling, often relying on remnants and scraps.
Born in Providence and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Carrion is a member of Sista Fire, a network of women and non-binary people of color building a foundational structure for political, social, and economic transformation. Carrion’s parents immigrated from Ecuador to the Ocean State many years ago and instilled in her a love of both their native and adopted cultures. Carrion’s been known to compare her life to the patchworks she assembles – a lively mash-up of constructs.
After attending RISD, where she studied textiles, screen printing, and pattern making, Carrion found herself increasingly drawn to sewing and quilting; she started making her own clothes and gradually veered to quilt-making and sewing costumes for a dressmaker in Boston. Today, her quilts not only demonstrate her skills with textiles, but also her talents as a printmaker and pattern designer.
Like her quilts, her watercolor paintings are filled with joy. “I’ve been painting animals, trees, and sunshine,” Carrion says. “I’m making what the 10-year-old me loved to paint.”
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