Ludington Area Center for the Arts
Ludington Area Center for the Arts
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Chuck and Karen de la Durantaye's "The Art of Fabric and Thread"

de la Durantayes ‘The Art of Fabric & Thread’ on display at LACA June 3-25

The Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA) will host ‘The Art of Fabric & Thread’ by textile artists Chuck and Karen de la Durantaye in the art center’s main gallery throughout the month of June.

‘The Art of Fabric & Thread’ features more than 70 pieces of art using an array of textiles and techniques to create representational and abstract art quilts and fabric collage. The exhibit will open Friday, June 3 with a public artist reception from 5-8 p.m. celebrating the de la Durantaye’s work. The public is invited to attend this special evening celebration that will feature drinks, hors’devours and a chance to meet the artists. The exhibit will be available for viewing June 3-25 during normal LACA business hours.

About the artists:

The women of Karen de la Durantaye’s family have been sewing for generations, so it is quite evident where her passion for fabric came from. She learned to sew as a young girl, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that she began in earnest to explore the process of creating art quilts.

As a self-taught quilt artist Karen returned to her home state of Michigan in 2016 after residing in the Kansas City area for 20 years where she and her husband, Chuck, owned an upholstery business. Prior to that she was a fabric craft designer creating home and holiday décor projects for craft manufacturers and publications. She also had her own line of fabric craft patterns along with a full array of finished products she sold at craft shows and through her website.

It was a leap of faith toward realizing a dream of Lake Michigan sunsets that brought her and Chuck to Hamlin Township where they bought a small house situated on an acre and built a studio to continue pursuing her creative endeavors in.

Karen likes to explore different tools and techniques. Two techniques she draws upon most often are paper-piecing and applique, often-times combining both. It can take thousands of pieces of fabric and hundreds of hours to create an art quilt. It is truly an adventure with each one taking Karen on a new journey different from the last with many ups and downs, twists and turns, certainties and doubts. But in the end, she is better for having journeyed down the path.

Over the years she has developed her own style. One unique feature of Karen’s work is the journal pages that she incorporates into the back of her art quilts which chronicles her thoughts as she moves through the creative process. She finds herself fascinated with the multitude of forms and shapes found in the world around her and how they interrelate, using a bold, energetic color palette to bring her artwork alive.

Karen says she has two seasons—sewing seams and sowing seeds. In spring and summer, she can be found sowing seeds and tending her gardens. In fall and winter, you will find her sewing seams with inspiration coming from the many photos taken of the flowers and plants she so lovingly nurtured.

After discovering the amazing beauty in her own backyard in the Summer of 2020 when Covid took the world hostage she fell head over heels for the Zinnias she nurtured from seed. Karen could not stop marveling at this amazing flower. Currently, she is working on her Zinnia series to celebrate this flower’s splendid structure from bud to bloom to seed head.

Chuck de la Durantaye was born and raised in Riverview, Mich. He grew up in an upholstery family and learned the trade from his father and became a third-generation upholsterer. After working for his father for several years Chuck moved on to a career in sales.

He and his wife, Karen, moved to Olathe, Kans. in 1995 after being recruited by a competitor in a similar business. In 2009 at the height of the recession things took an unexpected turn. Laid off from his job and drawing on past experience, he and Karen decided to start an upholstery business. Things took off quickly for the Durantaye’s and for the next seven years they continued doing upholstery together. In that time, like his father and grandfather before him, he grew to love working with fabrics.

In 2016 the Durantaye’s moved from Kansas back to their home state, relocating to the Ludington area. They resumed the upholstery business there and continued until 2019 when a back injury caused Chuck to retire. Prior to retiring and inspired by the art he saw his wife creating, Chuck started to dabble in some textile art of his own. Surrounded by upholstery fabric remnants and old samples he started creating his works using only upholstery fabrics. After completing his first work ‘Not Dark Yet’ he was convinced that this was something he wanted to pursue. The majority of the early work was in abstract designs. Recent works have begun to incorporate traditional cotton quilting fabrics and have also moved into portraiture and landscape themes. Many of his pieces are created using an appliqué or collage technique, some with additional sewing and stitching. Most days you will find him either in the studio creating art or in the yard pursuing a second passion, gardening.

About LACA:

The Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA) is located at 107 S. Harrison St. in downtown Ludington. LACA is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.