Carol Larson is a self-taught textile artist specializing in both narrative and abstract work. Her narrative work explores social and cultural values; such as beauty, women’s issues, sexual assault, social justice, aging, dementia, gun violence and climate change.
The solo exhibits of her narrative work include Visions Art Museum, San Diego, CA; National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY; San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, CA; and Park National Bank Gallery, University of Cincinnati Clermont College, Batavia Township, OH.
In her abstract work she is inspired by the patterns and textures of everyday life; the complexity of stonewalls, paths and passages, the fluidity of a kelp forest, the patterning of cracks in the sidewalk or blooms in various stages of degradation.
Her abstract work is in the corporate art collections of James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco, CA; Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa, CA and John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, CA as well as numerous private collections.
Her juried work has been shown at George Washington University Textile Museum, Washington, DC; American Foundation for Arts & Sciences, Paris, FR; Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI; Quilt National, Athens, OH amongst others. She has exhibited internationally in six countries.
She is a 2018 recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial Award for her Defining Moments series. Additionally, she has served as a juror and lecturer for many organizations including Beyond the Comfort Zone at the Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah CA; juror for Intertwined at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, Healdsburg, CA and juror for Visionary 2020, for the ME/NH/VT regions of the Studio Art Quilt Associates. She has also served in a large variety of volunteer positions for arts and community organizations.
Her work has been featured in several publications, including: Art Quilting Studio, Stampington Publishing (2017), Exploring Fiber Art, E. Ashley Rooney and Anne Lee, Schiffer Publishing, (2017), Textile Fibre Forum, Australia (2016), The Washington Post (2016), Magic Patch (2016), Artists Culture (2015), Fabric Surface Design, Storey Publishing (2013), Furoshiki Fabric Wraps, C & T Publishing (2012), Surface Designers Handbook, Interweave Press (2006). Videos have included NPR Stories of Migration, George Washington University Textile Museum, (2016) and Quilt National17(2017).
She is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area.
I am a storyteller. With cloth as my medium, I layer text onto fabric and embellish with images, clothing, ephemera and stitch relevant to the story. Through the examination of social/cultural values; such as appearances, women’s issues, sexual assault, aging, dementia; social justice, racism, gun violence and climate change, I create a narrative which encourages the viewer to contemplate their point of view and potentially spark conversation. Much of my current work is further inspired by outrage.
My attraction to fiber began pre-adolescence when I learned to sew my own clothes. As an exceptionally tall girl I was unable to find pants long enough to fit my growing body. Sewing led me to decades of hand-weaving, knitting and wearable art into quilting. I made one traditional quilt and then moved into designing original work, with a variety of fabrics and media.
Paint, technology and stitch are my tools. The complex layering of text, whether by a digital print, screen-printed or both adds color, pattern, and depth to the cloth surface. Both hand-stitching and machine stitching add more texture and interest.
The challenge that drives my work comes from figuring out how to best convey my message so others understand what exactly I am communicating. Much of my design process comes from hours of research, drafting, sketching, contemplation and what I call ‘fermenting.’ In other words, just parking the idea in the back of my mind and ruminating on it until I am ready to begin.
Once I begin construction, the work progresses quite quickly.