Submitted by Andrea Funk
Local artist Milie Funk will be showing her thread paintings at the East Lansing Art Festival Saturday, May 20 and Sunday May 21.
Funk is a graduate of Olivet High School and Olivet College. In college she studied Art with an emphasis in Bio-Illustration. Bio-Illustration is the art of drawing human and animal body parts – such as the heart or the brain.
When Funk was 14 years old, she began long-arm quilting at a local quilt company that makes T-shirt quilts. A long-arm quilting machine allows the operator to move the sewing head over a quilt along an X/Y axis. This lets the quilter draw on the quilt with thread.
Years later, she began combining her experience and love of long-arm machine quilting with her art education and began creating thread paintings.
Funk’s innovative medium of thread painting using a quilting machine is uncommon, as quilting machines have only been widely available and affordable for non-industrial use for under 30 years.
Because of this, what Funk creates is inventive as there are no directions on how to do it.
Funk starts with a blank canvas. In her case, this is a three-layer quilting sandwich of cotton fabric with batting between the layers of cotton. She then draws the basics of her design on the fabric with a chalk pencil.
She then layers stitching, starting with dark colors and progressing to lighter hues, often using up to five layers of stitching in certain areas of her work.
Last year, the East Lansing Art Festival celebrated Funk as an emerging artist.
If you’re attending this year’s East Lansing Art Festival, be sure to visit booth 72 to see Funk’s one-of-a-kind art that stands out among traditional paintings, photography, and jewelry.