Bethany received her BFA from Bradley University and began her career at Eastern Accents, a handmade textiles manufacturer in Chicago, IL. From there, she began a long-term position at Gary Lee Partners, an architecture + design firm in Chicago,IL. After working as their Furniture Procurement Director for many years, Bethany started her own consulting company, offering full service procurement management to high-end interior designers across the country. This part-time role offers Bethany balance against her work as an artist, a contrast that she very much seeks. Her company Interior Procurement Group is run remotely from her home base in Peoria, IL. Bethany relocated to Peoria Illinois with her husband and two kids in 2014. Peoria's supportive arts community and studio space availability is what sparked Bethany to devote more time and effort into her work as an artist. This devotion has allowed her to truly find her own language and growth as an artist which has resulted in representation by Agora Gallery in NYC and publications in ARTisSpectrum Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, Current Masters World Wide Art Book and ArtPlatform NYC.
Bethany's career within the interior design industry has been a big influence in her development as an artist, and a stepping stone in transitioning to textile designs. Bethany's fabric patterns are created from small sections of her original large scale paintings. This has allowed her to maintain her beloved, uncontrolled and large scaled process of painting, while fulfilling her craving for a more out-come controlled process with product design. The result is a transition of fine art to product that is truly unique and one that reflects Bethany's love of interior design, color and well constructed palettes.
Bethany paints out of her studio in the Studios on Sheridan building, where she is a resident artist. Bethany's fabrics and products are printed and handmade out of a small workroom in Pennsylvania. Stay connected on Bethany's upcoming gallery shows and market participation around the country, by joining the mailing list
Artist process + statement:
Bethany's paintings are guided by improvisation and begin without much conscious thought beyond a potential pallet. Each layer unintentionally evolves upon the next and grows into a layered composition that becomes a record of her current situation or state of mind, informed by her acute observational nature. Once enough layers are formed, a more intentional process begins and Bethany decides what layers to reveal or conceal, until she has eliminated any unrest in the piece.
Bethany believes that her process is very similar to the human experience and the subconscious reactions that form it. Primary themes that show up in her work are layers, contrasts and circular patterns. Bethany is interested in the layers that form us, both emotionally and physically, and how they inform a conditioned and cyclical lens that we see ourselves and the world thru. Much like her process, these layers evolve unintentionally, but form intentional reactions in what we decide to reveal or conceal to others, sometimes creating a strong contrast between our inner and outer worlds. These interests play a strong role in the personal reactions and reflections that Bethany finds in her own work. She hopes that each viewer will have his or her own unique reaction + reflection.
Pattern + Printing Process:
The pattern process begins with a small cropped section of a completed original painting that is then used to create pattern repeats that are carefully developed by Bethany. Once a pattern's repeat is confirmed, Bethany determines how that pattern will be placed on a selected product and digital templates are created. These digital templates are printed onto fabric and then handmade into pillows and table linens.
Bethany Mabee is proud to collaborate with a printer that uses water-based pigment ink set, which has been chosen for its environmentally friendly characteristics, compared to the ink formulas of reactive, dispersed and acid ink. Her printer's operations are designed to minimize wastefulness. For example, the ink cartridges are refillable and create minimal waste (absolutely no hazardous waste!). The small amount of printed fabric waste due to flaws, misprints, sampling and color work is donated to animal shelters to be used for pet litter absorption, or donated to schools for use in their art and theater departments.
Other benefits of using water-based pigment ink set include consideration of the environmental impact of the printing process and the human community impact of the printer's business practices. Other printing methods (such as rotary screen printing) are incredibly wasteful. Their methods create large overruns, significant and often polluting wastewater, high energy consumption and other issues that result from the types of inks, batch sizes, machinery and labor used in this type of printing.
Minimal fabric flecking is normal and the nature of water-based ink set printing. Think of it as "Wabi-Sabi" - the discovery of beauty in imperfection! A statement that Bethany loves to live by and an important and intentional element in her work.
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