My name is Gene Looman and I have been creating my whole life. As a child it started with Legos and craft projects and as I got older it evolved into the artist I am today.

My Fiber Art journey started when I was 4 years old. At that age my mother showed me how to hand sew. It was not beautiful but it was a start. When I was 5 my mother showed me how to use a wonderous power tool called a sewing machine! I have always been the ultimate power tool to me. My father worked in construction for 20 years so I grew up using power tools of all sorts. I have always been the most comfortable and have always returned to the sewing machine.

I continued to create as I grew up my favorite medium is fiber it is what sets my soul on fire and sends it soaring. In my mid-twenties I put myself into therapy and with the help of the therapist I discovered that like everyone I need food, air and water to live, for me however I also have to create. Creating is not a choice for me, I have a drive that drives me to create. To be happy the only choice I have is what to create and with what medium. In my mid-twenties I went through an 18 month period where I did not create. It was not a happy place for me that is what put me in therapy.

I happily bounced through life after that. I would say I was an artist but that was only to appease the people around me because when I tried saying I was not they would get very upset so I was easier to just say it to make others happy. Then came the beginning of April in 2016. A new friend, who is still very special to me, and I were talking and she was expressing how frustrated she was that she could not find a bag to carry her stuff around in that suited her needs and desires. I asked questions to understand what she wanted. I then went up to my studio and in the matter of a day I made her the bag she had been looking for! It was a very enjoyable process for me to create it. When I showed her the bag she was very excited and almost started crying because what she had wanted and could not find was now sitting in front of her. That night I went to bed and at 2 or 3 in the am I sat straight up in bed out of a sound sleep and thought OMG! I am an artist! I can't tell you the why or the how that finally settled into my brain and to me it does not matter why or how. What matters is that I am an artist and I need to create objects for others to enjoy and use.

Looking back, I had some silly notions of what an artist is they include but not limited to: (and in no particular order)

1) All artist can draw and paint no matter what medium they create in.

2) Art had to be perfect.

3) My fiber art was just sewing. A real artist created _______________. (Fill in with almost anything but fiber)

4) I saw and appreciated other fiber art but it was way better than mine.

5) Real artists had to have an actual degree in art.

Here is what I have come to realize about those thoughts:

1) The only artists that have to draw or paint are those that actually use that medium.

2) Art is not perfect! Actually, I feel it is better if it is not perfect. If one desires absolute perfection then a computer needs to create it. Art like that to me is not art it usually lacks soul and voice. It may be pretty but it is not authentic to me.

3) My Fiber Art is Art is Art is Art is Art. It is as simple as that!

4) My Fiber Art is just as good as any other Fiber Art. It is just different; my art is created by me with my voice and life experience. That is what makes it mine.

5) Getting a degree in art is one path to being an artist. It is not any better or worse than any other path to becoming an artist. It is simply like art itself, it is just a different voice, path or experience.

I am an artist and I am very excited to continue my journey to becoming the best artist I can be. I know one thing for sure that today I am the best artist I have been! And tomorrow I will be an even better artist. As an artist I believe it is my duty to invoke thought, provoke discussion, provide inspiration, and create beauty in a world that desperately needs more!