For as long as she can remember, Cleveland Institute of Art graduate Lucy Bailey has struggled with mental health issues, and she finds refuge in bright colors, a canvas, and a paintbrush.
“I am confronting undesirable feelings that we all encounter at one point or another,” she says. “My work has been therapeutic for me.”
Artist Lucy Bailey
Art therapy has worked for Bailey. Her first collection of dye-painted silks and textiles, “Daylily,” will be on exhibit through Sunday, Aug. 30 at Praxis Fiber Workshop gallery, 15301 Waterloo Road in Collinwood, where Bailey is an emerging artist fellow.
Bailey first began working on “Daylily” in October and completed the exhibition at the end of July. For close to 10 months, she spent three hours a day dying silks and painting textiles. She says the dye work took up most of her time in the studio. Bailey created more than 20 pieces—ranging from dye paintings to digitally printed works.
Bailey says the dying process is somewhat tedious. First, she soaks fabric in soda ash and warm water, which helps absorb the dye, and lets it dry. Bailey then uses a paint brush or squeegee to add color.
Although there are no painted flowers in her work, Bailey says the bold colors she uses are reminiscent of a daylily’s vibrance.
Bailey says her hope is that viewers become more aware of themselves when they see her work. “People have to make their way through the exhibit,” she says. “They’ll experience the dark and light elements of my pieces come together from beginning to end.”
Bailey named her collection “Daylily” for a variety of reasons. She says she wants her work to show beauty in an otherwise mundane setting—like a daylily.
“Daylilies grow in bleak places, like on the side of the road, and add a pop of color to wherever they are,” she explains.
Bailey is Praxis’ fifth emerging artist fellow. In 2015, when Praxis executive director Jessica Pinsky started the fellowship in 2015 to support graduates of Northeast Ohio universities who are actively pursuing careers in studio practice.
Each year, one up-and-coming artist receives workshops, individual instruction, and unlimited access to Praxis’ fiber facilities for six to eight months. In that time, they create a solo exhibition for the gallery.
“I found out I won the fellowship last July, and I was beyond excited,” says Bailey. “The Praxis Gallery is a great place, and everyone has been very open to my work and artistic experimentation.”
Artist Lucy Bailey’s ‘Daylily’ exhibit at Praxis.
When she was an undergraduate student majoring in painting and printmaking at the CIA, Bailey says she was interested in the Praxis fellowship because she knew it would provide many opportunities to grow and experiment artistically. In fact, Pinsky was one of Bailey’s college professors.
“Daylily” is just the beginning of Bailey’s artistic endeavors. While she’ll continue her work with textiles and dyes, she’s says she is interested in patterns and repetitive designs.
“I’d love to experiment more with my designs,” she says, “I’m always exploring new ways for people to experience my work.”
Only time will tell what Bailey will do after the fellowship. Her work might appear in another gallery, or her vibrant designs could dress mannequins at a local boutique—she says she has yet to decide which route she’ll pursue.
But for now, you can see “Daylily,” her artistic debut, on display until her fellowship ends this Sunday, Aug. 30. Email Praxis to make a gallery appointment for the show.