I was never quite sure what a life coach does — they fix lives, or something or another, I’m assuming. Apparently it wasn’t what Laurie Brainerd enjoyed much of. During her days as a life coach (and a slew of other professions), Brainerd relaxed by quilting (her speciality is art quilting) and last September opened Fiber Artspace, a commission-free (Brainerd adds that she wants to “keep it about the art”) gallery for fiber artist.
Brainerd doesn’t have a background in art but always considered it to be “more important” than her profession — now Brainerd is dedicating all of her time to her craft. Since she wasn’t exactly hardwired as an artist, the thought never crossed her mind to open a gallery — it just happened and has since, as Brainerd says, “took off as its own life.”
She opens up her living quarters every First Thursday for the official exhibition opening and First Friday for the more rambunctious crowds. Living quarters, you ask? Brainerd and her computer-programmer husband converted their Blue Star loft into a makeshift gallery, hiding sofas, rugs, and other household goodies in small closets or in their bedroom. If that’s not dedication, I’m not sure what is.
Brainerd dedicated the last few months of 2007 to getting the word out. December’s First Friday was evidence of a job well done. A steady stream of art patrons trailed into her space. Now she plans to add a twist. In July, she’ll fill the space with a collaborative show in which fiber artists will work with artists who use different media (she hopes to one day soon `hint, hint` collaborate with the Overtime Theater). And in April, Brainerd’s own work will grace the gallery’s walls — while the itinerary for December ’08 features an artist-appreciation show. Brainerd also wants to mix things up by possibly offering a retreat-like event (which is in the preliminary stages) where a handful of quilters can occupy the space for a weekend and dedicate their time and energy to their works. On top of that, Fiber Artspace offers a show-n-tell every Third Thursday, where fiber artists show off their work, offer constructive criticism, share ideas, resources, and experiences, and gab a little.
Brainerd is thankful for the artists (and patrons, for that matter) taking a chance on an unknown venue. She expresses excitement about the future. “I just want to be good and interesting,” Brainerd says. “I want people to have something to say — it can be internal — I want artistic voices represented.”
She also wants to curate on a more artistic level — she’s doing her homework, too. Brainerd took a 2-D Design and Art History survey class at Southwest School of Art & Craft, and intends to earn a certificate from SSAC, which she says “is more about my own art than running the
“I don’t have big ambitions to rock the art world — I’m kind of doing what feels right.” •
Blue Star Arts Complex
1420 S. Alamo #202
Living quarters-turned-fiber arts haven — the space offers an eclectic array of fiber artists on a monthly basis.
Aside from the amazing view, you can’t miss this Southtown space — a banner for the gallery is displayed on the balcony for first-time visitors.
Open during First Friday weekend