The appliqué technique used by K. Joy Ballard Peters, often described as "painting with fabric", is her favorite medium and the one for which she is most known. She combines her trademark style of using colorful fabrics, pinking shears, and zigzag stitches with patterned and textured fabrics, yarn fibers, ceramic masks. At first glance, you are just beginning to see the surprises in this stunning art. K. Joy uses painterly techniques to achieve depth and dimensions in her appliqués. She starts with commercially produced fabrics, then cuts, redesigns, and machine stitches, then a metamorphic evolves into the figurative, landscape, seascape and/or abstract art. Whether the end result is in a two-dimensional, relief, or three-dimensional format, they all reflect creativity, vitality and afro-centric energy. K. Joy prefers to matt and frame her appliqués but don’t be surprised to see them incorporated in note cards, sculptures, dolls, or embellished items like scarves, tote bags and aprons from time to time.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND CREATING THE APPLIQUéS
During my first visit to Children’s Art Center in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1970s, a life-size paper Mache statue covered with bits of colorful fabric... greeted me. I was so inspired that I went home and created my first fabric collage. To my disappointment, the glue seeped through the beautiful colored fabric and ruined my design. I had a small Singer sewing machine, so my next attempt at creating a fabric work of art was more successful. Using pinking shears, the machine zigzag stitch, and combinations of colorful patterned fabrics, my first successful appliqués burst with energy. I sewed yarn onto the figures for hair, since I had a plethora of yarn from creating hook rugs. Throughout the forty years that I have been creating appliqués, the sizes, backgrounds, colorful fabrics, and themes have changed and evolved, however my creative approach remains about the same.