The Pahrump Valley Museum and Historical Society will host a one-woman show for Carol Wertsbaugh. “Idle Hands” is Wertsbaugh’s first solo show scheduled for April 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the facility on East Basin Avenue.
Wertsbaugh said when most people see her work for the first time they say “How did you do that?” She only replies, “magic.”
Even after she explains her technique, many still do not understand how she builds her designs and often insist her artwork is done by machine. Wertsbaugh said, “I assure you it is all hand crafted, making it a truly unique composition.”
The technique is inspired by classic embroidery, stump work (worked on a separate piece and applied to another piece), raised embroidery and painting. She never limits herself with materials, always looking for another element to enhance her art.
She said she didn’t even know this type of composition was a possibility until she got her hands on two books given to her by a friend, Sue Newhouse, from the Shadow Mountain Quilters.
She said Newhouse blended paint with embroidery, 3-D pieces and elements other than thread to create art. Most of her pieces were very small. Wertsbaugh tried a few small pieces and then made the choice to go big. She said the “large blank space” intrigued her as well as the challenge of working “life-sized” pieces.
Wertsbaugh learned to embroider from her mother and grandmother when she was 5 or 6. She started with tea towels, which were the 40’s and 50’s version of the sampler.
Wertsbaugh was exposed to and experimented with many traditional crafts and in high school, took a few art classes that gave her the courage to draw her own designs. As a teen during what she refers to as the “hippy movement.” her creativity lacked limitations and there was a sort of acceptance of all creative ventures at the time.
She embroidered jean jackets with renderings in embroidery floss, like paint on canvas, but floss on denim. Inspired by the results, many jackets flowed from her imagination and denim became her favorite medium. She has also done sea horses, mermaids, dragons, Pegasus and unicorns, western themed pieces and seemingly has a limitless imagination.
Carol has also designed and embroidered tablecloths, dresser scarves, purses, wall hangings and framed mixed media pieces. Truly, she is well rounded in embroidering many types of media, giving her a lot of hands-on experience with a wide variety of fabric and embroidery techniques, She has won many awards for her unique pieces.