Artist spotlight: Adriene Cruz

Below you can see the evolution of OYA'S BLESSINGS featured in the Guardino Gallery exhibit:

Over the past couple of years, I have admired and been curious about Portland artist Adriene Cruz through the bits of conversations we've had while working hard at Urban Pilates. When I heard her talk about her show she was prepping for at Guarding Gallery I knew it was the time for a feature here and to get to know her and her work more. Adriene very graciously answered our questions and provided us with great pictures of her work. You can read another fabulous interview with her here, on the Quilt Alliance website. She will be participating in an Artist Talk at Guardino Gallery this Saturday, November 14th at 2pm. You can find more information about her show at Guardino Gallery here.

Warrior of Light Shield for Obama

Warrior of Light Shield for Obama

Can you describe how you started working with fabric in your art? When/how did you learn to sew?

I began sewing nearly 30 years ago when my firstborn was a year old and I discovered how much unique baby clothes cost! Mothers Day 1986 I bought myself a sewing machine, called my dear friend Mama Omotoyo who came right over and showed me the basics. Later in 1992 I took a contemporary quilting class at the Oregon School of Art & Craft with Ann Williamson and the rest is history. The curious thing is the women in my family, grandmother, aunts and my mom were amazing designers and tailors. As a child I was so intimidated by their measure of excellence I couldn't even imagine trying! I was in my 30's before I approached it from a place of freedom and joy breaking whatever rules I could.

Before fabric I was a sculpture major in high school & college. Wood & stone morphed to crocheted organics which then became wearable art. I designed tapestry crocheted wearables for 17 years before I touched a sewing machine!

What is your process? Do you plan out a piece before starting or jump in and see where it takes you?

See where it takes me! I never know what will be conjured up, even when I think I have an idea of whats being created it's always a surprise to see what develops.

A start

A start


When choosing fabrics for your pieces, do you collect fabrics whenever you find something, do you have an idea of what you want for a piece?

I have a crazy amount of fabric, mostly African wax prints but I collect interesting ethnic textiles from all over. I can have a fabric for years before I use it or sometimes I use it as soon as I get it home! For the exhibit at Guardino Gallery there was a lot of "what happens if I do this"

What is your favorite color? 

I guess my favorite color is orange or deep red wine... what i really love is color pairings! I get very excited when colors are amplified by juxtaposition. 

Dancing to Coltrane A Love Supreme

Dancing to Coltrane A Love Supreme

What do you do once you complete a series of pieces and have them up in a show? Do you reward yourself somehow? 

 Perhaps because I never know whats going to develop as I create, after the show goes up the reward IS the completion! 

Thanks Adriene!