Alice Seeger is a calm force in the midst of creative chaos. She’s wise, experienced and generous. When Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson were developing “Cultural Creatives” they must have been looking at Alice when they identified the core qualities that defined this social group. Alice spins, weaves, dyes, studies the textile traditions of indigenous populations…and she’s supported her family with her art for thirty-five years…how many people can say that?
When we asked her about herself, these were the thoughts that she shared with us:
Presumably you’ve been an artist all your life…when and how did you decide to label yourself as one?
Not until I was 35 after spending my first year teaching weaving at a camp filled with amazing artists from around the world.
If your life were a box of paints…would you be pastel colors, jewel tones, flesh tones or black, white and shades of gray?
Tell us about your first attempts to be creative.
I think I was 7 years old when I began making clothes for my dolls from fabric in the “rag bag”, holding them together with safety pins. It was magical when Gran taught me to thread a needle and do a running stitch. I learned to sew on a sewing machine in Girl Scouts when I was ten. I made most of my own clothes from the time I was in Jr. high. I discovered spinning and weaving when I was in college.
If you could have any mode of transportation in the world…how would you get from place to place?
Sailing is great, (except in High seas) the world looks very different from the water, arriving at a harbor to find a post office or go grocery shopping is an adventure! Sailing brings me close to Nature at a pace to see and experience beauty.
What is your favorite art related book?
I’m a nut whenever I get near a museum book store, It’s dangerous really…. I have a great collection, I love them all, I especially love the Dutch Painting of the 1600’s depicting everyday life. In a “coffee table” book of the work of Jan Steen. you can study the clothing and material culture of the time period clearly depicted.
Do you make a living with your art?
YES, I don’t know how to do anything else.
What is your preferred environment when you’re in a creative mood?
My back deck, looking out over the Catskills with hummingbirds visiting the garden and good music playing on Pandora.
What do you wish you could do?
I really want to Move to Maine! where there are like minded souls.
If you were forced to give up your current artistic medium, what medium would you pursue next?
While doing arts residencies in schools I’d have to document as well as create content for the programs. I’ve added Photography my skill set. I’m currently taking photos for Real Estate and hope to be adding product and fine art photography. I like everything about it, from shooting to post processing in Photoshop! Extremely creative outlet and extremely satisfying! I love the learning curve and I get to invest in new toys!
What is your favorite art related website/blog?
Name five adjectives that best describe you at your best.
Passionate, caring, creative, loyal, funny.
Are you currently working in “the perfect” studio? What does your perfect creative space look like? What would we find in the drawers and cabinets?
My studio is currently a granny cottage for my Mom who has dementia. Three looms now reside in my living room with tall shelves for yarn and books. The sewing machine is in an itty-bitty room off the kitchen that doubles as an office/pantry. Not ideal, but it works for now.
With the tap of a magic wand, you can go anywhere and study with anyone…time is of no essence…what are you doing and with whom?
I love traveling to indigenous communities where textiles are still part of the living culture. India and Africa are still on the “bucket list”
When was the last time you laughed at yourself?
oh, at least once a day.
How many projects do you generally have going at one time?
3 or 4, and many more in my head