Artist Heidi Marie Faessel looks for the details around her in life.
It might be inspiration from something she’s reading, or noticing the cracks in a concrete floor.
“As an artist and a person, it’s good to pay attention to what catches my eye,” she said. “Not everybody takes the time to ask themselves why.”
When viewing her contemporary collage and paintings, it’s important to take that same approach. To take the time to look at the details.
Her latest collection of work is on display at North Valley Hospital. Her show is titled “Above Below” and described as “exploring the territory above and below the surface of life.”
Walking down the hospital hallway past the pieces, it’s easy to see them as a mix of blues, greens and blacks evoking a sense of calm. But take a little closer look and the layers of fabric and thread, and even the charcoal and paint, create depth and texture only seen by taking time with the art.
Faessel said her mood always influences her work, and for this series her mood is “serene.”
“I was trying to connect with and live in a place of serenity,” she said. “There’s chaos around us right now. The colors represent the quest to live in peace.”
She uses found fabric — denim, cotton, jeans, silk or “anything that looks interesting” — ink, charcoal and thread to create her collages. She created stitches using the thread, which she later realized was fitting in a hospital as a symbol of “mending.”
She says the collection of work is a good match for the hospital, an environment that should feel healing.
“My intention is to use color, line, texture, pattern and movement as a visual language, making seen the subtleties of what is only felt,” she writes in her artist’s statement.
Faessel works professionally as a textile and graphic designer. Prior to moving to Whitefish 15 years ago, she lived in New York City. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in textile/surface design.
While she has always continued to work on personal art, raising a family and her design work have come first.
“This is my first opportunity to branch out from the design world,” she said of collection at North Valley. “I’m pretty excited to put my heart into something.”
When she worked in New York, she worked mostly with home furnishing designing sheets, bedding and bath products. She began her graphic design work after moving to Montana, which allowed her to work with local companies.
She was initially drawn to textile work because of an older brother who was already an accomplished artist, so she wanted to go in a different direction.
“I also wanted to make a living,” she said. “But even in my art I was drawn to patterns and some of my art at the time had patterns in it.”
As a textile artist her work was often driven by the colors and trends of the moment, along with requests from clients. Creating her own work allows her to control the creativity.
“You learn to embrace your own uniqueness,” she said. “I’ve learned to lean into that more.”
The show will be on display at North Valley Hospital, just outside the café, through Dec. 29.