photo by Angelina Aragon

Art Break: Studio Snapshot with Mimi Damrauer

Written by Judy Harper Category: Arts Issue: July 2018
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Fabric artist Mimi Damrauer collects material from all over the globe.

Mimi Damrauer
As a child growing up in Ohio, Mimi Damrauer liked to paint, draw, cook and sew, and relished trips to the Toledo Museum of Art. She purchased her first sewing machine at the age of 9, thus beginning a decades-long love affair with fiber art. Today, Damrauer is a full-time artist, sewing and painting with gusto from her Phoenix studio ( She regularly zips around the globe in search of exotic fabrics to inspire her whimsical wall art, pillows and blankets. “Everything inspires me, from the crooked lines of a telephone pole in rural India to the color of the ocean in Costa Rica.” Most recently, she has incorporated painting and drawing into her pieces, as well as other mixed-media elements to bring the contemporary textiles to life. “There’s no depth, no agenda to my work, it’s just supposed to make you happy. That’s my tagline. Even if I didn’t do this for a living, I would still do it just for my soul.”

"Tulip Field Trip No. 2" by Mimi DamrauerDamrauer frequently uses fabrics designed by her sister, Marcia Derse, a designer for Windham Fabrics and resident of Whidbey Island, Washington. “I cut out little pieces of them, kind of like painting with fabric.”

Japanese kimonos, saris from India and other exotic fabrics from the artist’s travels embellish her pieces. “It adds a personal touch to my art.”

Damrauer integrates pops of bold colors in her tactile works. “Tulip Field Trip No. 2” was inspired by a trip to Skagit, Washington.

Each work is made by hand through a process that begins with doodling in a sketchbook and fabric cutting, and ends with painting, sewing and drawing.