"Remnants" Artist Q&A Series Four

By Roxanne Phillips

We are pleased to present our fourth series of interviews related to our current in-Gallery exhibit at Art Saint Louis, "Remnants" (January 16-February 17, 2021). You can view all of the featured artworks in the show, learn about the artists in our exhibition Facebook album here and read our Jurors' statements and learn more about the show on our website here.

We invite you to view the "Remnants" exhibit in-person at Art Saint Louis (M-F 8-3, Sat. 9-2). The Gallery offers Safety Measures and Protocols including required masks, social distancing, and sign-in upon entry for the purposes of contact tracing. Learn more about our Safety Measures here.

In this post, we proudly introduce you to "Remnants" featured artist Polly Sievert and exhibit co-Juror Linda Vredeveld.


Featured in Art Saint Louis’ “Remnants” exhibit: Polly Sievert, St. Louis, MO. “Barefoot Serenity.” 2018. Clothing, Lace, Velvet, Stitching, Driftwood, Stones, 16”x8”. $225.
Artist’s statement: “A 12-barbed needle felting machine is used to blend layers upon layers of remnants of recycled fabrics, yarns, velvets, and vintage lace to create this serene beach scene.  My desire is to provide an escape from the stressed and harried world that allows others to meditate on the calming and rejuvenating nature of time spent near water.”

About the artist: Polly Sievert transforms mixed media artistry into a prescription for the stressed and harried world. Combining a diverse range of textiles, fibers, papers, paint, and embellishments, which often include elements found in nature, she creates unique pieces that serve to bring those who interact with her art closer to their gentle spirits. Polly sells her work at shows, in galleries and by appointment. She also enjoys teaching and speaking engagements.

Featured in Art Saint Louis’ “Remnants” exhibit: Polly Sievert, St. Louis, MO. “Intertwined.” 2018. Clothing, Lace, Yarn, Stitching, Stones, Driftwood, 12”x9”. $150.
Artist’s statement: “The weaving of the tapestry of life is intertwined with so many experiences and relationships. My hope is that all individuals will find thankfulness from the growth related to their personal tapestries. I use a 12-barbed needle felting machine to merge a diverse range of recycled textiles. Driftwood and rocks along with stitching enhance the serenity to this piece.”

Roxanne Phillips: Why do you make art?
Polly Sievert: Making art gives me a place to escape from life and to express myself. My gentle spirit is especially nourished when I create using remnants that would otherwise be discarded. Maybe this is in part because I was raised by Depression-era parents with an attitude of “Waste not, Want not.” When I create, I also feel a deep spiritual connection. Often, relationships of mine that need pursuing, tweaking, softening, healing or even releasing are often brought into light. I just love how time spent in my studio delivers this added benefit.

Polly Sievert. “Autumn Splendor.” 2020. Fiber Art Floating on Canvas, 10.25”x10.25”x1”. $120.

RP: What is the biggest point of inspiration for your artwork?
PS: Much of my art is inspired by my time spent in nature, near water and woods. Nature has a way of feeding my soul, clearing my mind, and opening my eyes to all forms of creativity. Dragonflies deeply resonate with my spirit. The lessons learned from how they lead their life has a profound impact on my gentle spirit. Much inspiration and encouragement also come from the deep resonating love that radiates toward and from God, my close family, and friends.

Polly Sievert. “Down by the Water.” 2019. Mixed Media Wrapped over Canvas, 10”x10”x1”. $115.

RP: What is it that you are most eager to convey through your art/ how do you want the viewer to receive or interpret or your art?
PS: Our world is full of stress, drama, overstimulation, and technology that drag us far away from our gentle spirits. My desire is that my richly textured nature-inspired art will provide a visual escape of tranquility, a pathway to the inner calm and quiet of a person’s Gentle Spirit. Helping others find their gentle spirits is a true passion of mine.

Polly Sievert. “Flowing Waters.” 2019. Mixed Media Wrapped over Wood, 11.5”x32.5”x1”. $495.

RP: What is it about your preferred medium that you enjoy the most?
PS: My preferred medium is definitely fibers of all types. When I was growing up, my mother exposed me to all sorts of crafts:  quilting, sewing, cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, …  There is a feeling of contentment when I am touching fabric especially. My oldest son, when he was younger, used to tell me to go touch fabric when he sensed that I was stressed, anxious or frustrated. He was very insightful that it was a form of therapy for me.

Polly Sievert. “Relax by the Lake.” 2019. Mixed Media Wrapped over Canvas, 9”x12”x1”. $125.

RP: What do you find most challenging/rewarding about the creative process?
PS: The biggest creative process challenge for me is probably vastly different from other artists’ challenges. My husband, Bob, and I are residents of two different states and vacation in a third state. The biggest challenge for me with the creative process is that I may get an idea while making my home in one state and the materials and tools I need are in one of the other 2 states. For instance, I only have one 12-barbed needle felting machine and it resides in my St. Louis studio. My drill press for drilling rocks resides in my Wisconsin workshop. To minimize this challenge, I take copious notes so I can be efficient when I get to the studio where I can do the creating. Many prayers are also lifted up to keep the inspiration and motivation alive to make that piece when I get to the needed equipment and supplies.

Making my projects portable is another challenge for me since I may start an art piece in one state, continue the process in yet another state and then transfer it again to complete the piece. Staying focused when I am in the state where the tools and supplies exist requires discipline. I need to get the piece to the point of being able to travel with it.

Polly Sievert. “Striped Elegance.” 2019. Fiber Art Wrapped over Canvas, 12”x16”x1”. $185.

The most rewarding part of the creative process is witnessing the direction a piece takes from initial idea to finished piece. Very often the initial idea and the finished piece are vastly different from each other. I also find it extremely rewarding to see the development of many remnants of fabric merged to create a new piece of fabric that depicts what I am trying to portray in the piece. For example, Barefoot Serenity has 5 to 7 layers of remnants that are used to create the sand and the water of the piece.

St. Louis-based Polly Sievert at work in her studio.

Polly Sievert's St. Louis studio.

RP: What is the best thing about St. Louis for your art practice?
PS: St. Louis offers such rich and diverse venues for viewing art from our wonderful Art Museum to numerous galleries and exhibits. The other superb factor about St. Louis is the art friends that I have made over the years. St. Louis has a rich fiber art community with MoFA (Missouri Fiber Artists) and a pod for SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates), both of which I am members. I am also blessed to be part of the intimate group, Bits Art Quilters (a sub-group of Bits ‘n Pieces Quilt Guild). They are always encouraging me, stretching me with new fiber techniques and eager to voice their opinion on a piece that I am working on. St. Louis also happens to be home to the largest of my 3 studios and has the greatest inventory of supplies.

St. Louis area artist Polly Sievert.

Learn more about Polly Sievert: https://gentlespiritstudio.com/ and www.facebook.com/GentleSpiritStudio and www.instagram.com/polly_gentlespiritstudio


Linda Vredeveld. “Castle Question Mark.” 2020. Gel Transfer, Mixed Media Collage on Gessoed Illustration Board, 15”x9 1/2”.

About the artist: Artist Linda Vredeveld is an abstract figurative painter whose work has been exhibited in Chicago, St. Louis, and Albuquerque, as well as other cities in the Midwest. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, she graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Her most recent solo exhibition was at The Bermuda Project in St. Louis (May 2019.). 2021 brings “Glass Slipper and a Hot Flash,” a solo exhibition at Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s High Low Gallery (January 15-February 27, 2021), a show at Southwestern Illinois College, and a solo exhibition at Principia College. In 2017 she was a finalist in the Contemporary Art Museum’s "Great Rivers Biennial." She was awarded residencies at Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois in 2011-2012. Her work is in the Drawing Center’s Viewing Program Artist Registry. It has been featured in solo exhibitions at Knox College and Blackburn College in Illinois, in a group exhibition at Jacoby Arts Center in Alton; in “Think Small” at the Illinois State Museum, a group show featuring small works by Illinois artists; and at The University of Missouri - St. Louis’s Gallery 210 in the “Exposure 10 Years” and “Exposure 8” exhibitions. Her work has been reviewed in The Chicago Reader, Dialogue, The Chicago Tribune, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She has been represented by Locus Gallery in St. Louis, and by Chicago galleries Lyons Weir and Gwenda Jay. Currently her work is handled by Rider for Life in Chicago.

Vredeveld lives in Alton with her husband, Eric Shultis, also an artist. They have two children - Arlo, a musician, and Zora, an actor and singer. Linda served as co-Juror for Art Saint Louis’ “Remnants” exhibit.

Linda Vredeveld. “Cupid Cross Stitch.” 2020. Gel Transfer, Mixed Media Collage, Laminated Letter, Eyelets on Gessoed Paper, 17”x18”.

Roxanne Phillips: When did you begin to know what your art is about?
Linda Vredeveld: In college, when I took my first art courses, the work I did was about me and my relationship to the world. So there was an autobiographical element always, but used as a way to engage with ideas about Feminism, or motherhood, or sexualtiy or other broader concepts that affected me.

Linda Vredeveld. “Fairytale Medley.” 2020. Oil, Gel Transfer on Canvas, 48”x40”.

RP: What is the biggest point of inspiration for your artwork? 
LV: I am inspired by artists and their artworks, both contemporary and historical, and in many different forms. My list of inspiration is very eclectic and includes works of fine art, design, fashion, craft, music, architecture, and theater. I tend to binge on certain things for a few months! This past year I have binged on Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, on Mary Blair’s concept art for Disney, on Rose Wylie’s paintings, on Saint Louis Art Museum’s Vincent Van Gogh’s Stairway at Auvers, on Midcentury Modern interior design, and on The Crown on Netflix.

Linda Vredeveld. “Menswear.” 2020. Oil, Gel Transfer, Collage on Canvas, 56”x48”.

RP: Do you have a studio routine? 
LV: My studio routine is all about making the most use of the energy levels I have and the best window of time to perform certain tasks. I am most energetic and positive in the mornings, so I usually do the most difficult things then. That could mean writing in my sketchbook, painting something that takes a lot of daring, making big decisions about pieces. During the afternoons I am more ready to do boring things that take time but are not particularly interesting, like building stretchers, preparing paper, going to Lowes. In the evenings I will look at books, Instagram, Pinterest… filling the tank, as it were!

Linda Vredeveld. “Mermaid Expectations.” 2020. Oil, Mixed Media Collage on Gessoed Paper, 22”x30”.

RP: Describe your dream studio.
LV: My dream studio would have multiple rooms:  a room to just paint large pieces, a room to lay out potential projects and objects of inspiration, storage spaces, and a collage room. Since my husband and I are both artists, we have to think double. Even though we built an outbuilding to house our studios, we now are taking over rooms in the house to expand our practice and prioritize space for what is most important in our creative lives.

RP: On what are you currently working? 
LV: I am working on a series of large paintings that have found-font text on them in relief. They are kind of fantasy landscape views with words that float in the spaces that are in contrast to, or interrupting that landscape, or maybe even co-existing in that space. The words have to do with being a women in the world.

Alton, IL-based artist Linda Vredeveld.

Learn more about Linda Vredeveld: www.lindavart.com and www.instagram.com/lindakvredeveld

Roxanne Phillips
is an artist and art educator based in St. Louis since 2001. She earned a MFA in Printmaking & Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and BFA in Painting & Drawing from University of North Texas. Roxanne is an adjunct art instructor at Washington University in St. Louis and has worked with Art Saint Louis since 2017 as Administrative Assistant and Installer. From 2018-2020 she was Master Printer for Pele Prints. Her works have been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the St. Louis region including at Art Saint Louis, Crossroads Art Studio & Gallery, and St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Her work is currently available at Union Studio in St. Louis. She has served as exhibit Juror for several regional exhibits & art fairs. Roxanne is past Board member of St. Louis Women’s Caucus for Art.