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Bernadette Puleo



Fiber Art

Fiber Art/Graphic Design

As long as I can remember, I loved to paint and draw. When I was six, I got my first watercolor set for Christmas and my big brother taught me how to scale up a picture of a bunny in order to paint my first “work of art”.

When I was around 10, my Aunt would give me scraps of fabric to make Barbie doll clothes. This was my first foray into sewing. At 14, my Mom and Dad bought me a Singer Touch and Sew machine because I promised to make all of my clothes with it. And for the most part, I did.

I was lucky enough to go to a high school where I could major in Art. As a senior, I applied to many art schools, but I was really set on going to Fashion Institute of Technology. I was elated to be accepted into the Fashion Illustration/Advertising Design program.

After college, I was employed by JCPenny at their Corporate Headquarters. There I worked in their advertising department, their display department, their catalog department and finally in their in house agency, before they moved their headquarters to Texas. In my later years, I returned to school and received my undergrad at Farmingdale College in Visual Communications and went on to earn my MFA at Marywood University, also in Visual Communications.

In the late 1970s I began to explore soft sculpture and trapunto quilting which led me to start my own business making novelty items for kids bedrooms. When that venture ended, I went to work as an artist in the children’s wear industry, hand painting sample garments for showrooms. I worked through the transitional times when graphic design went from using rulers, ruling pens, radiographs, airbrushes, etc. to computers. I fell in love with the digital software, including Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

For a short period of time, I had the opportunity to explore monotype printing. Another, process I fell in love with. That led me to dabble in paper making and mixed media.

As much as I loved working digitally, especially in Illustrator, I am moving away from it in order to devote my creative energies to growing Japanese Indigo, extracting the pigment and using it  and all parts of the plant for my fiber art. My indigo work has been shown in the Long Island Craft Guild shows “Echoes” and “Current Climate”, the Islip Arts Council’s “Mother Earth” exhibit, an invitational show at the AVA Gallery in Astoria, OR entitled “Indigo Matrix” and the Art League of Long Island’s Members’ Show (Part 1) where my piece “Stone’s Throw” won the Award of. Excellence for a 2D work.

Combining all of the skills I have developed over the years plus my love for fiber, I feel like I’ve only just begun.