Fae Kontje-Gibbs’ studio is covered in climbing vines. She calls them volunteers and said they grew there of their own accord. Tucked behind her downtown Vineyard Haven home, the studio invites light with wide windows and doors saved from her grandmother’s kitchen. The walls are covered by art, her own, her mother’s, her children’s, her grandchildren’s. The beams are painted with mottoes like “see what happens.”

In the center, a monotype press sits, with drawers and shelves lining the edges of the room. Open any drawer, and files and folders of work spill out. She rarely throws things out; all items have the possibility to become something more.

She discovered printmaking soon after she moved to the Vineyard in 1973. — Jeanna Shepard

Monotypes from years ago may be cut up and collaged. A piece of board used to wipe off brushes may turn into a collaborative paint-pen painting with grandchildren which then may become a print on fabric. Next to the press is a collection of items that could be called trash, but Ms. Kontje-Gibbs calls them texture. There’s a scrap of rusted chrome she found and a strip of plastic wrap, a beige plastic ridged mat.

“My entire life, it’s the only thing I ever knew about myself really, when I didn’t know anything at all about myself, was I knew I was an artist,” she said.

She knew it when she was young, growing up on Long Island. She knew it in elementary school where a pair of teachers taught her to draw like DaVinci and encouraged her love of writing and reading. She knew it in high school, which she started at age 12. She knew it in college which she entered at 16. She knew it when she married at 19.

“I knew mostly nothing, but I liked to draw,” she said. She was drawing, always drawing, as she and her first husband, Geoff Kontje, traveled to California in a converted camper VW bus. Then, when she tired of experiencing just two seasons (wet and dry, spring and summer) they returned east and moved to the Vineyard. It was Jan. 3, 1973, three weeks before her 20th birthday.

“Early and crazy and dumb,” she describes how she lived her life. “But eager, always eager to learn.”

Mr. Kontje was getting into the shipbuilding trade and Ms. Kontje-Gibbs found jobs as an inserter at the Gazette and as a figure-drawing model in Oak Bluffs, where she was introduced to printmaking. Molly Kahn showed her a brochure for the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music and Art, opened to the printmaking class page and said, “I think you’d be interested in this.”

She felt immediately connected to the art form.

“I basically took my friend Louisa’s book on print making...probably one of the only things I’ve ever just taken, and had almost finished reading it by the time I got down the stairs, I was so besotted with printmaking,” she said. She commuted to Barnstable and took lithography, silk screen and etching classes. Then she commuted to MassArt and the Museum School where she learned to do monotypes, one of her main mediums. Ms. Kontje-Gibbs set up the print making studio at Featherstone.

When she moved onto a 36-foot-long wooden boat, the Saorsa, for three years she brought a box with ink and rollers and papers to continue making her art.

“I would set up on the companionway and do prints,” she said. Water is a frequent theme in her work, including her show currently hanging in the Oak Bluffs Library. The centerpiece on one of the walls in the conference room is a quilt she made for Consenses, a project created by Sally Taylor that debuted in 2014.

Ms. Kontje-Gibbs knew she wanted to be an artist her entire life. — Jeanna Shepard

The quilt was made in response to an instrumental version of Mark Simos’s song called Ship and Harbor.

“Listening to that music got me thinking about wind and waves, which is not unusual. I love to swim and I love the water,” she said.

First she made a monotype, but she felt it needed to move, so she printed the design on fabric. But then she realized it needed to be surrounded by something, which led to the quilt.

“I reconnected with those years that I was sailing and living on a boat, and moving up and down the East Coast,” she said. Living on the boat marked more than the sway of the sea and the connection to the water. She was also pregnant with her daughter, Reade Milne.

But during her three years on the water, Ms. Kontje-Gibbs craved soil; she wanted a garden and a house and to raise children.

“When I was sailing, my doodle would be a house and a fence and a garden and a trellis over the back door and flower boxes, pretty much what you see out there.” She gestured to the back of her Vineyard Haven house.

In the Oak Bluffs library show, the quilt is surrounded by corresponding art work that has never been shown before, including a collection of eclectic pieces that don’t correspond to the quilt.

“I would say my main style is variety,” she said. And it’s true, just as it’s hard to put Ms. Kontje-Gibbs in any one box (artist, writer, teacher, acupuncturist, yogi, pianist, Buddhist, Christian, mother, grandmother, godmother) it’s hard to define her art with a single sweeping category. She makes quilts, paintings, fabrics, monotypes, collages (she calls them paper quilts), relief cuts and drawings.

A lot of her work is small, as she’s invested in keeping her art affordable. “I love pattern play,” she said, flipping through the pages of a binder labeled Kitties. She tries to arrange two of the stamps to show how she inverted half of the cat’s face in one print (she calls it a wombat), but can’t seem to get it right.

“For a total dyslexic, being a printmaker is a certain form of torture,” she admits.

"I would say my main style is variety." — Jeanna Shepard

Recently displayed works include more musical interpretations. One peaceful blue painting interprets John Lennon’s Imagine while a frenzied swirling blue painting expresses The English Beat’s Sugar and Stress. Both hang in the Moz-Art show at Featherstone, up until Oct. 4.

After creating something new, Ms. Kontje-Gibbs usually lets it incubate, until she is able to “see” it again.

“Usually with new stuff, I’ll immediately put it in the drawer. It takes me months, sometimes years, at least weeks to actually be able to see something I’ve made,” she said. “I’m insecure and self conscious and I care. I feel like my work doesn’t look like anybody else’s work and sometimes that adolescent longing to belong wants to do stuff like the other kids are doing. But I’ve never been able to do that.”

Though always an artist, Ms. Kontje-Gibbs said it’s only been in the past three or four years that she has been re-emerging into the public to show her pieces. It’s something deeply emotional for her.

“My work really doesn’t come from here,” she motioned to her head. “It comes from here,” she said, motioning to her gut. “So putting it out there is a way of honoring being human.”

The Fae Kontje-Gibbs show in the Oak Bluffs Library is up until Oct. 5 with a closing reception from 6 to 8 p.m. She will be teaching printmaking classes at Featherstone in the fall.