Following Threads: Lisa Denney Shares Her Art Stories
Lisa Denney shares how her art career has evolved over time and the journey it has taken her on
Lisa Denney has had to take time to discover her niche in creating her own work. After experimenting with several mediums, she has decided that weaving is her main focus. She has always loved art and was exposed to it at a young age by her parents, who she calls “creatives.”
When she started college, though, she decided to major in Biology as she had only taken a few art classes in high school. After taking Organic Chemistry as a summer course, she decided to drop her Statistics classes and replace them with drawing. It was then that she switched her major from Biology to Art. After graduation, she began worrying that she had made a mistake in changing her major because she was struggling in finding a job.
She finally managed to find a job in Design at Shaw Industries, though, creating area rugs. Although this job was a minor creative outlet, it did not leave much time for Denney to create her own works. It was moving into Chattanooga Workspace that allowed her to do her day job and create art of her own.
Weaving really became Denney’s focus in 2017 when she started it as an extension of rug design. Before then, she dabbled in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and mixed media. Weaving by hand was something she was unfamiliar with until she began working with Indian weavers. To help aid her understanding, she bought a toy loom. The process came naturally to her so when the collaboration between the Chattanooga Workspace and the Hunter Museum came along, she decided to create a project for it.
The piece included a Paperclay sculpture as she likes to mix disciplines. On the day she finished the project however, she lost her job. In the next six months, all of her time was spent weaving. The art provided comfort for her when she needed it most. In this time, she found that her personal style is usually organic and free-flowing and uses much texture. Each work tells a story with hopes that it will resonate with the viewer in some way.
When asked about her most memorable piece, Denney thinks of a piece spanning 48 by 60 inches that she created last year for a tradeshow. The piece is made from strips of carpet, carpet backing, yarns, and vinyl tile. Another piece entitled “Four Seasons” also comes to mind because of the help she received while making it and what she had dealt with emotionally at the time. Now she realizes how far she has come since she created the piece.
Denney finds inspiration in nature, old textiles, and the human experiences that tie everyone together. Currently, she is working on a large piece that will incorporate a blanket her mother crocheted for her grandmother as she finds that memories are often tied to textiles. Her plan is to create mountains in the work, but since her style is free-flowing, it may evolve.
Her intention in the local art scene is to impact the area by expanding the understanding of fiber arts, showing that it is more than just craft and can be seen as fine art just as painting and sculpture are. Additionally, she wants others to know that ancient art, such as weaving, can heal others and provide comfort.