We had the pleasure of speaking with Leslie, and learning more about the exquisite pieces she loves to create!
You have always been a creative person. Tell us about your background in art?
“I've always had an interest in the creative side. I took art growing up, went to summer camps for art, and had lessons after school. When I was a freshman at Ole Miss, I went in undecided about a major. But after half of a semester, I realized I wanted a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with an emphasis in graphic design. After graduating, I began teaching art and graphic design at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, and after teaching for two years, I realized I wanted to get my master’s degree. I am in my 5th year teaching high school students at St. Andrew’s, and I am currently at Mississippi College, slowly but surely working on my MFA in graphic design!”
What inspired you to begin creating fiber art?
“I took a paper-making class at Mississippi College. With my background in graphic design, I have always loved beautiful paper, and that’s why I was drawn to the class. Fiber art gives me another outlet for working with beautiful paper.”
Tell us how you create these gorgeous pieces of fiber art?
“You can use any sort of paper you want! For my base, I use a cotton linter paper. It is just a dry, ground up cotton with some fibers that hold it together. I use a lot of recycled paper too. I blend all of that up with water in a blender, making a pulp. From there, I pull the paper flat onto a screen. I then transfer the paper onto a flat surface and let it dry. During the drying process, I begin incorporating dried flowers, gold foil, or several layers of pulp on top of each other. I make each piece more of a composition.”
Tell us about your graphic design business!
“I love creating invitations! And I absolutely love the printing process: picking the paper and using gold foil in invitations. I create custom logos as well.
Does Mississippi have any influence on your work?
“Definitely! My husband and I moved into a new house in Fondren two years ago, and our yard is filled with beautiful flowers. I loved picking a flower, drying it and pressing it. When I took the paper-making class at Mississippi College, I thought it would be an interesting idea to place the dried flowers onto the homemade paper. They kind of just float off of the page. It is so pretty to me! As compositions, they resemble landscapes found in Mississippi: the Delta, the coast, and even some rolling hills. Many of my fiber art pieces have transformed into these abstract landscapes. Depending on the material or the colors I use, I often work back in with watercolors. I recently created a piece using blue and green watercolor washes for a friend who lives on the coast. It turned out beautifully.”
What would you like to do in the future?
“I love teaching, so I definitely see myself teaching for a while. One day, I would love to have my own studio where I can create art and paper, but also have a graphic design studio where people can come in for custom invitations and logos. It would be wonderful to sell cute stationary and my art, along with pieces from other local artists as well!”
Thank you, Leslie, for sharing your beautiful art with us! Follow Leslie Baskin Designs on Instagram! @lesliebaskindesigns