Lori Miller’s love of art began when she was a little girl — pencil drawing, painting, sculpture and eventually, stained-glass work.
Over time, the Quad Cities native’s interests evolved; as a result, she chose to incorporate them into her art.
Miller is the latest artist to have a display at First Central Gallery, located inside the lobby of the Operahouse Theatre in downtown DeWitt.
The exhibit will be displayed through Feb. 5.
Miller, who lives in LeClaire with her husband, Craig, refers to herself as a fiber artist.
The title represents her love of fiber mosaic art, which consists of using various colors of fabric and other fibers and using them in a way that mimics stained glass.
As described on her website, www.lorimiller.com, mosaic art is a centuries-old art create by using pieces of ceramic, stone or glass tesserae.
Instead, Miller uses pieces of fabric chosen for color, texture and appropriateness to the subject.
She said many people ask the same question, “Why fabric?”
The answer to that question is a simple one, Miller noted.
“I enjoy working with the variety fabric provides in color, texture and form,” she related. “Just like the traditional painter, I work with my medium to explore my subjects and communicate my ideas. Fiber offers texture to a work and this is an exciting dimension to my work.
“Over the last several years, I have been fascinated with incorporating even more texture to my work by using repurposed materials, junk I may find on the ground or beautiful minutia of nature.”
Miller has developed her unique style and is largely self-taught.
A graduate of Marycrest College in Davenport, Miller initially chose a career in the creative field of advertising and marketing after developing her skills in design, copywriting, photography and set design.
But when her son, Ryan, was just a year old, Miller starting crafting mosaic pieces using stained glass. Then, she saw a mosaic made with felt and was inspired to give this unique medium a try.
“I combined my love of fabric with my experience in creating stained-glass work,” Miller said. “I created my mosaic style by taking a subject and drawing out each individual mosaic piece. Several years back, I started creating my mosaics without the original mosaic drawing and cutting each piece to place in the work. It is time-consuming, but the final work is highly detailed and allows me many more painterly options in shadowing, texture and form.”
Miller said her third exhibit at First Central Gallery — she previously displayed her work there in 2008 and again in 2015 — features multidimensional pieces.
Paired with vibrant colors of fabric, she incorporated elements she never has used before including sea shells from her family’s trip to Florida.
“My work is always positive,” Miller related. “What I’m doing in my newer pieces if finding beauty in nature. People don’t always think things are beautiful; like the way stones come together to form a cliff. When I go hiking, I see of piece of rebar sticking out somewhere … that fact that it’s part of a natural setting kind of makes up for it. It’s fun … nature always inspires me.”