By Toni Tronu
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 When an artist can utilize 25 different fabrics by cutting and stitching them into a beautiful portrait, I am hooked. It is incredibly interesting to see varying textiles transform into representational art. Caitlin Cary calls these works Needle Prints. Unlike embroidery she doesn't rely on the stitch to create the picture and though the process could be compared to quilting, the work is not meant to be functional as a quilt would be. 
Perhaps it's because she is also a musician, but one thing is certain- she understands how to thoughtfully depict a subject and hook you with a story, much like one would when writing a song. 
Read more about Caitlin below.



Who are you and what do you do? 

I joke that I'm an artist who's also a "recovering musician." I spent the better part of two decades making records and touring the country and the world. All along I made art, but it's only in the past four or five years that I've hit upon this technique that I call "Needle Print." It's a form that seems to strike a chord with people, and it sure makes me happy; and it's nice, now, to have a form of work that keeps me mostly grounded at home, both because I'm physically home here in my studio, and because, at least for now, my focus is on home as I'm depicting the "humble" landmarks of my adopted hometown of Raleigh and of other cities & towns (and countrysides) I'm fond of in North Carolina.

Why art?

Quite simply, art has always been inevitable for me. Writing, music, visual art-these are the only areas in which I've ever demonstrated real talent, and these forms are, quite simply, my whole world. 

What is integral to your work as an artist?

My love for fabric-the sentimental feelings that I (and lots of others) have is what makes the work the most satisfying; It's an endless hunt! 

What works do you most enjoying doing?

My work lends itself to commissions because I'm working directly from photographs. I can say that I'm very lucky because even when I'm working from someone else's photograph to depict the building or scene of their choice rather than my own, I'm so in love with the process that drives my work that I'm never bored! With that said, I'm still having a great time exploring my own hometown and other towns around the state to find out what buildings matter to people and why, and then to render them lovingly. Because fabric makes adored buildings even more adorable.

What do you like about your work?

When I'm in a new place, and especially when I'm at home in Raleigh, I try to talk to as many people as I can about which buildings are most important to them and why. I love holding people's memories and their impressions of places in my head as I work. Other people really inform what I do-the choices I make in subject, of course, but even the sorts of fabrics I choose are often a response to things that people have told me about the places they hold dear. Detailed histories of the buildings is fun to have, but I really love the piecemeal nature of obtaining these histories from people who have lived in them, eaten in them, fantasized about them, always "known" them--it makes it possible to create the kind of fantasy about a building or a landscape that translates easily into design and abstraction. 

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

My favorite response, and one I feel lucky to hear very often is, "I've never seen anything like this!" 

What would you like to highlight about your pieces that are in the shop at GreenHill?

I've spent only a little time in Greensboro over the years-have played a few shows there, but never really got to know it. But of course I have dozens of friends and acquaintances who claim Greensboro or who still live there. And so when I was invited to contribute works to the gallery, I posted on my Facebook page asking people to point out their favorite historical/beautiful/memory-laden places. The response was enormous, and included Yum-Yum, Beef Burger, The Joy Brand factory, The Biltmore Hotel, Woolworths, and lots more. I had a fun day trip and took photographs, and there's lots more to be made beyond the two pieces that hang in the gallery--excited for more!

Professionally, what’s your goal?

I'd like to have work in the NCMA! 



Visit the shop at GreenHill to purchase works by Caitlin or email Toni.Tronu@GreenHillnc.org for purchase information.