Feature Artist: Pam Apley

By Taylor Wilson

Living in Nebraska her whole life, Pam moved to Lincoln twenty two years ago. She has been influenced by God’s creations in nature. Pam is mostly self taught but has taken a few craft classes in order to broaden her palette.

Pam found a major turning point in her focus in life when she joined a Creative Call class at her church. In the Church bulletin, she saw a paragraph about the class. Saying to herself “I need that,” Apley attended most of the classes while working full time. This class helped her understand we all have a role to develop our creative gift from God, whether it be sewing, painting, or playing music, and then to share that gift with others and touch their lives for His purpose. A person’s doubtful nature may interfere with their ability to be productive and create for whatever reason. Creative Call helped this artist see her talents and those of others are God-given blessings that should be exercised rather than suppressed. Pam said “It’s up to Him what He does with it, but it’s up to us to pursue them in whatever form we can.” In a nutshell, Pam quoted from the Creative Call book by Janice Elsheimer, “Our gifts are not from God to us, but form God “through us to the world.” Pam has enjoyed being a part of the arts ministry at her church and helping others understand their role as creatives.

“Walk with Me,” fabric mosaic, 2019

Her mom was a big influence in her life and lived through the Great Depression while raising six kids. Creative outcomes were instilled by her mother along with ingenuity. Apley described her mom as a creative person who was good at making due with what she had. Her mom’s ingenuity passed to Pam as she was inspired to use old sheets as a canvas in her artwork. This artist used whatever she could fin in earlier years like fabric scraps and dryer links from towels to create her art quilts.

Retiring last year, Pam found time to be involved with the artists community. Janet Fraley, a friend, introduced her to the Lincoln Artists’ Guild for which Pam is grateful. Finding that artists tend to isolate themselves, Pam has connected with like-minded people and enjoys the interaction with other Lincoln artists. She says, “it’s nice to connect with other creatives and help each other grow.” At a recent meeting this artist was introduced to another medium, cold wax and oil, taught by Lori Elliott Bartle. Enjoying texture and layers, Pam loves to experiment with new processes to step out of her comfort zone, learn new things, and play. It gives Pam joy to meet people and explain her work, sharing her faith in her own unique artistic way.

“It’s up to Him what He does with it, but it’s up to us to pursue them in whatever form we can.”

Pam Apley

Working in fabric mosaic, this artist mentioned she enjoys working with more than one medium in the same piece of art. With experience she has refined canvases by sewing a variety of colorful fabric to the surface of the canvas combining painting and stitching. Searching local fabric shops, Pam looks for remnants of cotton or a cotton blend fabric to use in her mosaics. As far as challenges go, because this is such a detailed type of art, it takes a considerable amount of time to do one piece but is very satisfying. For this reason, she doesn’t do more than one piece at a time in most cases.

First getting an idea, Pam makes sketches and ideas morph as she gets into working with fabric. The underpainting on the canvas begins with watered down acrylic paint. Based on her theme she pulls out pieces of cloth, some patterned and som plain. Cutting out small pieces of fabric for the different parts of the artwork, Apley layers them to create shadow and depth. Sometimes this artist Wille even paint on the fabric as work progresses. Building many layers of paint and fabric pieces, a final layer of tulle is applied and free form sewing appliqués all the pieces and layers together. It is a several step process to make a piece of art when using this technique.

“Breathtaking Moment,” fabric mosaic, 2019

Generally working in a representational style, she also makes a few pieces look more abstract. Gathering inspiration form nature and the world around her, the theme of Pam’s art is “Pieces of Life.” She hopes that those viewing the story in her work will connect to memories or moments in their own lives.

Apley takes note of the final details, textures, and intricate patterns in God’s creation, keeping files on different things such as mounts, pathways, and the like. When ready to use these ideas, her notes are readily available. Pam said, “I guess I would just have say God Makes so many beautiful details that there’s just an abundance of things to draw from.” God’s creation gives Apley a purpose in her art and a sense of identity.