To say that Carson Converse is a quilter doesn’t really cover it. While she may create craft-based pieces, she has a background in fine art and design which makes her a visual problem solver filled with meaning. Our discussion about her work, quilts, and craft was extremely enlightening and energizing for me. So here’s what I learned in a nutshell.
Carson was always drawn to design as a kid and made her first quilt in Kindergarten. Her interest continued into a Fine Arts degree during college, which lead to a career in interior design as an adult. While she enjoys interior design and continues to consult today, the administrative aspect that came with the work brought her to accept what she really loves to do. She discovered that she is much more of an artist than she may have thought before, so she packed up and left the city to reinvigorate her creative focus in quilting.
Her quilts have an interesting minimalist look that somehow balance being extremely organized yet soft and organic. While they are all relatively simple at first glance, it’s hard not to get sucked into the elaborate stitch detail and geometric puzzles that she creates. She lets her process take time, pulls inspiration from all parts of her life, and allows this inspiration to slowly build to the big picture of a piece.
This brings me to the part of our conversation that always intrigues me, the intersection between art and craft. Carson actually breaks out the creative worlds in these four categories:
Craft: How something comes together.
Design: Visual problem solving.
Art: Storytelling or the soul of a piece.
Decoration: The superficial or material embellishment.
I really like her simplistic descriptions of these categories or approaches, along with the addition of “decoration” for something can be embellished or visual without being art, design, or craft. More often than not, textiles fall into all four categories. The weight put in to each category depends on the individual project and artist. Maybe that’s what makes textiles so fun, you can adjust your approach to match the mood and purpose of a piece.
While Carson identifies with all approaches in some respect, I can’t help but think of how great of a designer she is. As a little kid she would stare at her mother’s quilts that hung on their walls and reverse engineer them. She would always examine them, trying to figure out how she would achieve a look, exposing the seams, and considering the construction. In light of this mindset, Carson is hoping to develop more into product design.
It’s important for her process to always be trying something new. This experimentation has led to furniture design, lighting design, wallpaper, and branding. She also sells some really interesting prints that are digital collages of her work throughout multiple mediums. Carson’s style transcends throughout all forms she creates, I cannot wait to see where her unique visual problem-solving takes her next.