Friday, January 28, 2011

Vale Burns: artist series take 4

"Pay attention to your fascination"
Vale Burns

detail on a slip

Artist: Vale Burns
Age: 29
Occupation: Librarian at the Putney School and Artist
Medium: Fabric and Embroidery

I had a great chat with Ms. Vale Burns today, a local artist who lives right here in Brattleboro. I saw Vale's work at Through the Music 4 yrs ago before I met her and loved her delicate embroidered pieces so much, that I feel honored to feature her now and can't wait to share her work with you~

A little her-story... it all started with a pink, silk corset... well, sort of. As a child, Vale grew up on a farm and spent lots of time outside. Her grandmother was a painter, illustrator and later, a weaver.
Vale's Grandmother's Drawing

Her father is an abstract artist, and he taught her how to draw as child. Like many artists, she dabbled in many art forms before landing with embroidery which she is drawn to now because, " knitting, I can carry it with me and do it anywhere... stuff might get stained, but that's okay..." Vale explains with a laugh.

Vale has always been interested in science, women's studies, and art but it wasn't until she developed an interest in fetish fashion that somehow all of her interests collided. It was an advisor at VT College that encouraged her to make a corset.

She became fascinated with the Victorian era and how women went to such pains to appear beautiful on the outside, while physically manipulating their bodies to please others.  As Vale explains, "the link between making corsets and the work I do now is that it began, not only due to my interest in the tactile working of fabrics, but also as a deeper exploration of the human form beneath the surface layer. " 
Vale continues, "What we so often focus on is the outer beauty, but my pursuit is in finding the beauty that is found in the intricate design and function of the cells and organs within."  

"Corsets represent an intimate world, a form beneath 
the layers of clothing."

"An Opening"

"Torso with Heart"

She began making body casts and drawing the lungs, heart and internal organs of the female figure. And out of this study, Vale was able to make something so delicate, so pretty out of something so... well, clinical.

"My work is a way for me to make a study of the forms I see in nature, so that the pieces I create are representations of the specimens you would find.  I like this idea of preserved specimens."

I love Vale's Inspiration Board

and this little scissor pouch~

Vale doesn't necessarily want to make art for money. She doesn't want to make art for anyone else. She makes it because it feels good. "If I don't make art, I don't feel as positive about myself", Vale explains.

"What began as a curiosity, leads to discovery and ends with a feeling of overall connectedness and self-expression. To me, this is the pure joy of making art."

~Thank you Vale~


  1. I live in Maine because I love Nature and being around people who feel the same. Vale Burns certainly communicates through her art and words her love of the natural world. Fantastic!

    Richard Ailes
    Camden, Maine

  2. wow! what a great interview, inspiration board and I LOVE her (Vale) art!!! Simply stunning!
    I just read your life story on BYW and...totally impressed with all you have accomplished. I sense that you are in such a great place right now...maybe we'll see you on the OWN network:)

  3. Thanks so much! I absolutely love Vale's is simply....beautiful. Each piece has so much to look at ...dream into. I would love to see her work in person one day. We are in CT...we had up to Brattleboro from time to time....


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