Laura Lee Burch-artist
I grew up in Greenfield, Indiana; it sometimes amuses me that I've ended up in such a different place than where I started.
I studied art at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Uni was my first multicultural experience, I loved it so much that I've lived in big cities since then, leaving my idyllic childhood landscapes behind.
Growing up in a rural community is where I learned to create, as this was a way of life for my family.
I met my husband in Chicago, Illinois where we lived for many years. We moved with our children to Israel in 2000
It was important to me to instill my American ways of life to my three girls and one way I did this was by involving them in the store we opened in Neve Tzedek, Israel, called Burch and Daughters.
The store was a showcase for my handmade dolls, puppets, and theater-quality costumes.
The girls grew up in this store among talented artisans and art, helping me with customers, modeling and playing with merchandise!
As the girls grew up, my artistic focus changed from the joys of children to the interests and joys of myself!I began creating felted sculptures of animals. puppets and dolls with political and social messages. I added oil painting to my artistic repertoire and now I spend my time painting things that inspire me, there are so many.
I start to work late afternoon to evening, I'm a night person. I work in my home studio, it's an inspirational space! My home is in a 300-year-old Ottoman (Turkish style) building in the ancient port city of Jaffa Israel, my studio is one of the rooms of the apartment.
The walls are made of large stones with vaulted ceilings, we rehabbed the inside of this building in a modern style.
Our apartment is next to a mosque, you can see the minaret from our balcony and hear the call to prayers several times a day; the space has a timeless quality about it.
I have my favorite works hanging up around me in the studio, I also have an inspiration board in my studio which gives me joy. One of my favorite pieces in my studio is the wooden tool chest my father made, it’s a work of art.
Oil painting has been a passion of mine since I was a child, artist is a trait that runs in my family.
My family felt that my artistic abilities were something special and they greatly encouraged my artistic journey from my grandfather building my first easel to my parents consenting to let me study art at Indiana University, a rather flamboyant and unsteady career choice to them.
Art didn't seem like a choice to me because I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
I was introduced to another world during my summer studies in Florence, Italy during university, the history of oil painting, the techniques and the artistic "Greats."
Art is a lifelong journey for me.
Realism is the technique that I strive for in my work, I relish fine details and feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a realistic piece of art. I have a wide array of subject matter that interests me, I often fall down the rabbit hole of research that I do to prepare myself for many paintings. Art is a feeling for me and painting is the closest I've come to flying!
I've been creating textile art for about 25 years; it started when I began making costumes and toys for my children, as my mother and grandmother made for me as a child.
Making a doll was special, it was a unique gift that not everyone could possess and it held a message of love from the artist to the lucky recipient.
My family and I moved to Israel in 2000 and it was at this time that I started to create everything for my daughters as what they used to playing wwere not available in Israel at that time.
Parents of the girls' friends noticed and coveted the clothes, costumes, doll and puppets that I made for my girls and gifted to their children on birthdays and my store Burch and Daughters was born in Tel Aviv.
When my girls were young we lived in the world of Burch and daughters, they joined me in my artistic bubble and we created many fond memories rooted in my childhood and in my culture that I tried to convey to them through art.
As they grew olderI and less interested in costumes and toys I started to create art for myself through needle felting.
I felted realistic dogs, pigs and other animals sculptures from wool, that I love. Instead of children's dolls, I needle felted art dolls with themes that would interest an adult.
Most recently I've developed a technique that I call encaustic needle felting. I started experimenting with different aspects of wool. It bothered me that hooves, a nose or a beak were still slightly fuzzy, even when finely felted. I started waxing areas of my felting that should be smooth.
Most recently, I’ve started to create felted-waxed food. The felted-wax process is perfect for many types of food.
I continue to challenge myself in this medium concerning texture in search of realism.
For me the thrill of wool is being able to create an object from fiber, from which one would never have guessed it was made. It’s a bit magical!
2019 Spoke Art, Juxtapose Gallery, Newark, New Jersey, "Femme" | 2019 Jane Goodall Foundation, Vienna Austria, "Snack" | 2019 Fresh Paint Art Fair, Tel Aviv, Israel " We're All in the Same Boat" | 2021 Avney Tal Gallery, Tel Aviv Israel "Gathering"
Sew Magical for Baby by Laura Lee Burch | Sew Magical for Kids by Laura Lee Burch | Fiber Art Now, Winter 2020 | Needle Felting Magazine, Spring 2019 | Felt Matters, 2018 | Fiber Art Now, Spring 2018 | American Rose Magazine, May/June 2016 | Felt Magazine, 2011 | Living Craft Magazine, 2010, 2011 | Spin*Off Magazine, 2011 | Sew Magical for Baby, by Laura Lee Burch, Leisure Arts Publishing, 2010- book | Sew Magical for Kids, by Laura Lee Burch, Leisure Arts Publishing, 2011- book