141: Breaking Away from Shame and Breaking into Weaving with Lauren Salazar and Melissa English Campbell

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
141: Breaking Away from Shame and Breaking into Weaving with Lauren Salazar and Melissa English Campbell

In a first for the Artist/Mother Podcast, I talk to not one, but two artists who work on a loom! In this episode I speak to weavers Lauren Salazar and Melissa English Campbell. We get into the details of the process of weaving and the rich meaning that can be found in this type of art practice. Lauren uses weaving to create her own canvases and then uses these textiles to explore the sculptural aspects of painting. She has a BFA from the UNC Greensboro and an MFA in studio art UNC Chapel Hill. She lives and works in Davidson, NC with her husband and three young children. Melissa is a fiber artist, painter, and weaver. She holds a Bachelor of Science from UC Davis and an MFA from Kent State. She recently transitioned  out of teaching to work full time in her Kent, Ohio studio. She lives with her husband and has two adult children. 

We start our discussion about the artists’ early life and how Lauren’s childhood memories of exploration in the woods inform her practice now. We take a detour into Melissa’s nomadic childhood, learning that she was the youngest member of a hippy caravan starting in San Francisco, ending in the founding of The Farm commune in Tennessee with the one and only Ina Mae Gaskin (who delivered Melissa’s little sister in the back of their school bus home). We compare the pros and cons of these vastly different childhoods, and talk about how a combination of stability and travel throughout various life stages produces a rich life experience.

The artists also have such different paths to working on a loom! Lauren discusses taking a weaving class the summer after her first year of grad school, and was immediately hooked. Melissa, on the other hand, describes taking a weaving class in undergrad and being “the worst in the class” only to return to the loom 30 years later with the patience and discipline of middle age that made everything click. At that point, she realized that weaving was the language she had been missing all along!

We get into a deep dive about process and how it is entangled in the meaning of the work. Lauren describes how weaving allows her to create and then eventually break free from the grid, all while entering into an historical dialogue about womens’ work, including the women in her own family history. Melissa discusses using pattern and repetition to make something that is typically static become filled with movement. We get into an ethical discussion about the implications of using found textiles created by others. Near the end of the discussion, when Melissa shares her wisdom about breaking free from shame when stating your needs as a mother, Lauren shares just how valuable this type of intergenerational wisdom is for someone still in the thick of it.

This episode is jam-packed with so much wisdom and insight, and I can’t wait for you to dive into the new (to the podcast) topic of weaving!

Lauren’s Final Five: 

Biggest Art Crush: Jean Alexander Frater

Dream Trip: Bryce Canyon in Utah

Film or book: Eva Hesse Documentary

Favorite meal: Soup

Shoutout: Husband and Parents

Melissa’s Final Five: 

Biggest Art Crush: Bridget Riley, Anni Albers, Roberta Roberts

Dream Trip: Traveling with good companions to somewhere you can absorb the place. 

Film or book: Writing by Jerry Saltz

Favorite meal: Breakfast

Shoutout: Husband (thanks for the free labor) and Kelly Beatrix

To see more of Lauren’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @laurensalazar_art

To see more of Melissa’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @me_campbell

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Lauren’s images:

Try Tri, 2022, 61” on each side
Handwoven cotton and velvet installed on triangular pine frame.
Outskirts, 2022, 36”x37”
Handwoven cotton installed on irregular pine frame.
Helado, 2022, 64”x36”, Deconstructed vintage wool blanket installed on pine frame and rewoven with florescent nylon. 

Melissa’s images:

Portrait of a young teen. Details blend with background and shift in and out of place. Geometric patterning of the weave structure comes in and out of visibility. Tapestry is stretched and framed.
Willow, 2020, 21” x 21”, Cotton warp and weft, Warp painted with watercolor, and fabric dye
Woven on Harris table loom
Interior view of Praxis Fiber Studio. Melissa using a hairdryer to dry freshly painted warp.
Three dimensional portrait of a young child formed by viewing the edges of stacked accumulated repeated prints. Details blend with the texture of the raw fabric edges.
Building A Life, 2016, 12” x 12” x 12”, Digitally printed cloth layered with pages from deactivated textbooks
Weaving in progress. Painted warp threaded through heddles and the loom visible. Mix of unwoven and woven areas visible.
Portrait of a teen laying on their belly looking into their phone. The details of the portrait distort and dissolve the further away from the phone they are. Tapestry is hanging from a wood dowel
at the top.
Laying with iPhone, 2022, 36” x 38”, Linen warp and weft, Warp painted with watercolor, and fabric dye, Woven on an AVL loom

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