“I sewed clothing for my Barbie dolls, and I had a Sunshine Family dollhouse. The furniture was made from recycled materials,” said Swider, an Augusta transplant, who turned that love of design into a career.
She spent the early part of her artistic career in New York City, designing woven and jacquard fabric. When her two children came along, Swider rethought her career goals. She had a two-hour commute from Philadelphia to New York City, and she decided those hours commuting could be better spent raising her children.
Over the years, Swider has switched gears in her artistic career. Several years ago, she moved to the Augusta area with her husband, from whom she is now divorded. She taught art at Harlem Elementary School, and now, Swider has returned her focus to creating her own works.
While she doesn’t design fabrics any longer, Swider said she can’t stray too far from the fundamentals she learned from that career.
“In fabric design and graphic design, there are strict parameters, and that still comes out in my paintings,” she said. “I’m drawn to stripes.”
Often, she finds herself throwing an unexpected design into her work because she can still hear the voice of her weaving professor in college telling her to add a piece of cobalt thread to make the colors “pop.”
Nature is a focal point of many of her current works, but those elements of texture and color associated with fabrics are also found in Swider’s paintings.
“My trees look like strips of fabric,” she said.
Swider recently returned from Chicago, where she showed her works in the 21st annual Chicago Tribune North Michigan Avenue Art Festival. They also appeared at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in January and at Gaartdensity in June.