Please Come: Show Opening Friday, Sept 2nd

"Dragon's Rising" 24"

Artist Bio & Statement

All creative expression comes from the One source.  The blessed gift of being creative is my experience of “flow,” when time stops and joy is a stream burbling through me. 

I am fortunate to come from a lineage of female artists and musicians.  Having moved away from my early path as a pianist and vocalist, I had the fortunate misfortune to be felled by serious illness at 28 years old.  Homebound and needing something to do as I moved from bed to couch, I reached for long-forgotten skills taught by my grandmother, mother and aunt.  Thus began a new journey into my artistic soul.  Through the grace of stillness, induced by my illness, I began creating as I felt called. 

I move through the world by intuition, emotion, touch, smell, visual sensation.   Thoughts, ideas and emotions have “feeling,” color, image and sensation for me…visceral experience.  Fiber allows me to integrate my emotional and spiritual “felt” sense with my love for kinesthetic life. 

My art shares my vision of the physical, emotional, and energetic textures of the natural world and internal experience.  My work explores the relationship between nature, soul and humanity, and how the threads of this dynamic relationship impact emotion, personal awareness, and the experience of beauty as the soul is nourished.  All speak to me of that communion which is the essence of Being and the nurturance of soul.

My designs come to me from dreams and dream-like visions, from nature, from the souls I meet, and from my own healing, evolving and spiritual journey as a human being.  I seek to express either a deep felt-sense that wells up from inner experience and body-soul memory, or a spirit I sense in an image.  I explore where that memory or spirit takes me in the process of transforming it into fiber.  In the case of body-soul memory, I seek to follow the thread that creates the bridge between a felt truth within me and visual expression, making visible the inarticulate.  Each piece leads me on a journey.  In the end, I discover a spirit greater than I sensed originally.  The work unfolds to show me beyond, as Leonard Cohen says, “….what I only know the limits of.”

I experience profound communion with nature, with Creation, with my own deepest self, and with G-d through the birthing of each piece.  Poems often emerge to join the artwork, sometimes even preceding and inspiring the piece.  My use of technique is defined by the needs of a given piece.  I love the exploration of technique to “voice” the piece as it wishes to be “heard” and felt.

The Whole Shebang

 Complete images from work currently hanging, through February 26th, at Illahe Gallery at 4th & Main…with poems.

“Snow Creatures”
I reach across the sky to you

With Creation’s Sistine touch

Deep communion

Arcs Self to Self

One Self


Stephanie K. Nead, 2010




In dark clefts

Between towering walls of darkness

All seems lost

I wander

Vanquished from hope

Absorbed by black


Yet time passes

Earth turns

In my wilderness of night

Appears a shaft of light


Looking up

My towering dungeon glows

Deeply burnt

Oranges, purples, reds

Warmth radiates

Nourishment as honey to my lips


Above me

Through water-worn canyon walls

Appears high heating sun

There all along

I had but to wait

For light to rise

And come ‘round again


I had but to wait

For the blessing of light

To know my Valley is not a trapped dungeon of despair

But a carefully carved path of earth

Blessing my night with color in forms of grace

A marvel of elemental communion


Small me

Blessed to know the dark

The light

The color

The grace…

I breathe.

Stephanie K. Nead, 2010

Illahe Gallery Show This Friday, February 4

These two are accompanied by photos and poems.

(Click image to see in larger window.)

Come and see the whole show! 

They are more striking in person, when you can absorb the kinesthetic quality of fiber.  This Friday, February 4th, from 5 -8 p.m. at Illahe Gallery at 4th and “B” St., Ashland, OR.  I’ll be there and offering a demostration of one of my techniques.  I’d love to see you.

Artist Statement

All creative expression comes from the same source.  The blessed gift of being creative is my experience of “flow,” when time stops and joy is like a stream burbling within me.  One of the places in life where I experience this is in my studio. 

I had the fortunate misfortune to be felled by serious illness at 28 years old.  Homebound and needing something to do as I moved from bed to couch, I reached for long-forgotten skills taught by my grandmother, mother, and aunt.  This began a journey into my own artistic soul.  I am blessed to come from a lineage of female artists.  Through the grace of the calling inherent in my illness, to reform my life in better synergy with my soul, I began creating according to my inclinations as a kinesthetic human being.  I operate by touch, smell, visceral sensation.   Thoughts, ideas and emotions have “feeling,” color, image, & sensation for me…a kind of visceral experience.  Fiber allows me to integrate my emotional and spiritual “felt” sense with my physical love for touch and texture. 

My art is inspired by my sense of the spiritual, my love for the creation that is this earth, and my desire to express healing visually.  My creative process is one way I commune with myself and with the larger Creation that Is.  As a friend once said, “My way of talking to G-d is to go to my studio and make art.”  My designs come to me from dreams and dream-like visions, from nature, from the souls I meet, and from my own healing and evolving journey as a human being.                         

“Bridges To Nowhere”

"Bridges To Nowhere"

“Bridges To Nowhere” has been a long time in process. 

As densely layered with memory, emotion and meaning as any of our lives, I hope it touches that deep and almost wordless place inside.

This is the poem that — in some dialetical process I do not entirely remember — both gave birth to, and was given birth to by, this piece’s creation.

“Bridges To Nowhere”

this quilt lacks a center

a central form to draw the eye

this is deliberate

this quilt is metaphorical

it depicts a very unhappy time in my life…

 a time of grays and blacks and browns…

little color…

no life..

 when I felt like a stick figure…

wandering, searching…


down streets that led nowhere…

turning corners to other nowhere streets…

searching for bridges to something good…

finding they only reached another side of pain…

only another dead end empty space…

 all that seemed constant was the ticking of clocks…


far too slowly…

marking the time until I could leave…

run away…


hoping endlessly this might mean new life…

New life…

is like lightening…

bright, stark, brilliant, blinding…

deafening, terrifying…

coming with storm…

rending the new from the old…

lightening breaks apart the clouds…

bringing new birth…



after the storm…

Kali’s destruction…


though terrifying…

for new birth…

Music was my one light…

it softened the pain and gave me strength…

gave structure to my desolation…

as I poured my emotions over the keys…

Music was the new life I hoped for…

the only place where color still lived…

along with hope…

and the possibility of love.

 Stephanie K. Nead


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Art & Craft: The Difference

What is the difference between art and craft?  As I am about to create a “Holiday Sales Gallery” that will be almost entirely craft, this seemed a good time to write my thoughts on the subject.

This can be a volatile topic in the art and craft world (or worlds, as the case may be.)  There is much dissension. 

I do think that art and craft are different.  I also think there is crossover.  There are art pieces that contain an equal, or almost equal portion, of craft (see the quilts of Gees Bend.)   There are craft peices, many, that contain an artisitic esthetic and/or originality to them.  Reducing anything to a label seems to me a mistake, especially as there is much beauty in both.

In general, we have an understanding that craft applies to those objects that also serve a useful purpose, generally in the home. 

For me the distinction between art and craft has more to do with the originality brought to the creation, the idea/vision, the techniques and how they are applied, whether the final piece makes you, on some level, gasp.  If it does, it is art, whether it is an earthenware bowl, a quilt, or an oil painting. 

Artists and craftspeople often see the art of craft and craft of art somewhat differently than nonparticipants.  Because we are “in the conversation,” we are generally more aware of what is being produced, and so of what is original, unique…what we consider art.

A bystander might experience art in a piece that is little more than a semi-original copy of another’s style.  To another artist or craftperson, this would not signify as art.  But if it is the first time you have seen it, then to you it might be.  I think both perceptions are valid. 

To take away someone’s awe at what is new to her, is mean, and it certainly doesn’t encourage her to trust her response to beauty as she perceives it.  Such response is essential to art making and art loving.  At the same time, it is possible to share someone’s enthusiasm while sharing knowledge of the broader context for this art.

As easy examples of art and craft from my perspective, below is a slide show of three pieces I have created: art and craft.  Creating something from one’s own vision in a unique and original way, this to me makes art.  “Antelope Canyon” and “Bridges to Nowhere” are art.  “Batik Queen” shares an artisitic sense of color, but is essentially craft.     

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Featured Artist February 2011 at Illahe Gallery in Ashland OR

Wonderful news this week!  I have been invited to be a featured artist at Illahe Gallery this February. 

I will be creating 2 – 3 pieces similar in process to “Antelope Canyon,” below.  I begin with a photo or photos of a place in nature; I create an initial design of about 18″ x 24″ and a final design of about 3′ x 5′ with much greater detail. 

I love this process.  I feel myself on the inside of the inside as I commune with the heart of nature that the image yearns to bring forth.  I experience a deep communion with the place and qualities of the earth I am rendering.  It nourishes my soul, and I emerge from hours in my studio with a happy heart and a light spirit.

I am in the process of choosing my images for the show.  I will perhaps choose a further image from the Slot Canyons…very different from “Antelope.”  I have also long desired to create a tide pool image.  And I have wonderful images of snow creatures, trees and snow, that I would love to create in fiber. 

I’ll keep you posted!

“Antelope Canyon” 3′ x 5′ Slot Canyons of the America SW, where floods have worn deep, narrow canyons. Sunlight overhead casts deep shadows onto the sandstone walls, creating dramatic colors and contrast.

Commissions accepted.  Please contact me at or call 541-292-9390. 

Gallery showing

So, as of Tuesday, July 27th, I will have work hanging at Ashland Art Works Galleries at 291 Oak Street in Ashland (Oregon that is.) Please come have a look. I will be there as well for First Friday, August 6th from 5:00 to 7:00. I’d love to greet you. If you can’t make it First Friday, the gallery is open Wed-Mon 10-5.