Peach Ridge Fiber Arts is the brainchild of Tracy Leinbaugh who was one of the vendors at Falling for Local: An Ohio Artisan Market last year. That is when I first met this lovely lady and had the opportunity to see her fashions and accessories. I was in awe of her unique designs and the gorgeous colors she incorporated into her work so asked her if she would allow me to interview her.
Tracy lives (on Peach Ridge Road, of course!) and creates in Athens. She has an Etsy shop (that she would like to fill!) but sells most of her pieces at art fairs and shows sponsored by the Athens League of Professional Artists and Craftsmen, The Dairy Barn Gift Shop and Hyacinth Bean in Athens, and shows in the area, such as the Nelsonville Music Festival.
Born in Los Angeles but transplanted to Minnesota as a child (not far from Minneapolis), Tracy attended St. Olaf College with a double major (psychology and art). After graduation, she married and moved to Oregon with her husband, who was buying a flower shop. After four years, he sold that business and they bought two shops and a greenhouse in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where they lived for 23 years. She decided to get my PhD in Counseling and Psychology and enjoyed teaching as an adjunct at the University of Idaho while maintaining a counseling practice. Because she enjoyed teaching so much, in 1998 she chose to apply for a job as a tenure-track assistant professor and was offered a position at Ohio University…hence, another transplant to the Midwest which conveniently happened to be near my mother-in-law’s hometown of Chesapeake, Ohio. Having just entered OU’s early retirement program, she will be teaching only 2 courses spring semester for the next five years. And that translates to: “This gives me a lot more time to do art!”
Originally, a potter for three years in Toledo, Oregon, she was quite successful. Pregnancy got in the way of art, however, and she sold her business to one of her employees. However, she continued to create hand-thrown pottery and worked on leaded glass, and weaving part-time for fun.
In addition, she has taken graduate courses in weaving, batik, and pottery with plans to obtain an MFA. Instead, she made the decision to get an MED in Counseling since it seemed most likely to guarantee a steady income and made use of her BA in psychology. And that led to the aforementioned PhD, a career in counseling and instructing at college level. Although she has loved her career, she is anxious to return to her passion…creating!
Right now, Tracy is looking forward to retiring from teaching full time at Ohio University because her job seems like more of a distraction! She’s looking forward to letting her mind go because she finds herself sketching ideas in meetings…seems to get ideas, pictures in her mind at odd times, dreams about projects that she jots down as soon as she wakes up and would like more freedom to do this all the time! She already has so many pages of ideas that she will be busy for a long time!
When asked to categorize her art, she stated:
“Art we use.” I have always been practical and enjoy making functional items that are useful. Pottery to cook in and eat on, wearable art (clothing and jewelry), bags, bed coverings, table runners, napkins, placemats, as well as items that are not as functional such as wall hangings and window hangings, sculptures, decorative items.
Inspiration comes from nature and almost everything she sees as she sees in patterns and colors and enjoy translating them into woven and felted objects. She is also working on embellishment with unusual things that can be incorporated into the felting and/or weaving process besides being added after the process. Beads, buttons, glass marbles and natural items such as rocks and feathers are interesting and challenging to incorporate into her work.
Contact info for readers:
Tracy C. Leinbaugh, Peach Ridge Fiber Arts, 10855 Peach Ridge Road, Athens, OH 45701,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Facebook: Peach Ridge Fiber Arts