Textile news

Textile & Fiber Art

JUNE 2017

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Sarah Swett, Rough Copy #6: Postage Due.

Marginalia – Tapestries by Sarah Swett (closing on July 30)

I discovered this fascinating exhibition in Rebecca Mezoff’s blog, where she succinctly describes the collection: “I was able to go see her new show at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner, Washington…. This is most likely the last time she’ll be exhibiting her Rough Copy series all together and it is not to be missed. This series of work consists of 13 large-format tapestries in which she weaves part of a novel she wrote. The story is fun to read in part because there are blanks in the narrative. You have to decide what happened between each vignette. The words are woven on various scraps of paper: hotel stationary, a grocery receipt, a library card. Some are burned, some are torn. There are coffee stains and ink splatters and you get to meet a very good-looking mule.”  Mezoff offers several informative photos from the exhibition:

http://www.rebeccamezoff.com/blog/2017/5/9/marginalia-the-tapestries-of-sarah-swett

Carson Davis Brown, NAQ 20, 2015. Consumer goods arranged on store shelves.

 

New American Quilt installations by Carson Davis Brown

What is a quilt? You might well ask that question when assessing the recent work of Carson Davis Brown. I will let the artist explain: “New American Quilts (NAQ) is a site-specific installation and photographic project simulating branded edifice and the promise of abundance, inspired by the tradition of American quilting… Adopting the formal conventions of the big box store as constraint, the patchworks are built on-site from found materials and products. These highly geometric arrangements are made without permission and left until disassembled by consumers and staff. Photographs of the patchworks are then ‘woven’ into blankets with the assistance of W@lm@rt’s personalized gifts department. Most recently, my process has focused on breaking-down the most basic element of this project: the quilt itself. For me, the quilt has a ton of potential as an art object because of its ingrained cultural, social, and historical weight.”

http://carsondavisbrown.com/new-american-quilts

Lucy Sparrow in her 8 ‘Till Late installation in a storefront near Manhattan’s High Line, 9000 objects in felt.

8 ‘Till Late: Lucy Sparrow’s “store” in felted objects

Another art installation consisting of consumer items found in a storefront caught my eye this month. But these life-sized goods are made of felt—some 9000 objects, all for sale at affordable prices. While British artist Lucy Sparrow no longer crafts each piece herself, she does all the lettering. Her compulsion to produce multiples and meticulously reproduce mundane objects stems from this artist’s need to celebrate small, traditional businesses and the people who run them in the face of aggressive gentrification. Note that for this photograph she chose to cradle a “Brillo box” in her arm, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to Warhol. Located at 69 Little West 12th Street in NYC, through June 30.

https://www.sewyoursoul.co.uk/

José Benítez Sánchez, Detail from Nierika and Tukari (The Gifts of Vision and Life), 2005.
 Yarn on wood. Artes de
México collection.

Yarn paintings from Mexico at the Textile Museum of Canada

Huicholes – A People Walking Towards the Light showcases the art and lives of the Huicholes, an Indigenous group from western Mexico whose history dates back 15,000 years. Featuring dazzling yarn paintings created using traditional techniques, the exhibition includes ceremonial objects, handmade textiles, and photographs documenting a unique and threatened way of life. This Toronto exhibition, on loan from Artes de México, closes on September 4.

http://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/huicholes-%E2%80%93-a-people-walking-towards-the-light

Roz Chast, Motherboard, hand embroidery as published for the New Yorker magazine cover, May 15, 2017.

 

Motherboard by Roz Chast

Last but by no means least, the amazing Roz Chast has returned to hand embroidery! This famous cartoonist—one of the very few who can make me laugh out loud—is crafting some of her images in thread. See the web site below for additional examples. Finally, and this has nothing to do with art, she has published a graphic memoir about dealing with her aging parents, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? After reading it, I bought a copy for both of my children. If you are a parent or have living parents, I encourage you to buy this book. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will have a good idea of what it means to be old. It’s good to know.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cover-story/cover-story-2017-05-15

 

 

MAY 2017

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Quilts by Ann Johnston at the Bellevue Arts Museum

Ann Johnston, The Contact: Talus (2016), 87 x 56 in. (Talus slope or deposit, a slope formed by an accumulation of broken rock debris, as at the base of a cliff or other high place, also called scree.)

Until June 11, surface designer Ann Johnston will have 32 works on view in The Contact: Sierra Nevada, Dyed and Stitched at the Bellevue Arts Museum (Bellevue, Washington). This fiber-friendly venue, located across Lake Washington from Seattle, is well worth a visit. The Contact features imagery that visitors of the Sierra Nevada might recognize—bands of colors in the earth, mineral-rich rock layers that have been squeezed and heated over centuries, mountain peaks, lakes, and rock formations. The word “contact” in the exhibition’s title has a double meaning. It refers to a place where geologic units touch each other as well as alluding to the human influence on the landscape. Johnston described The Contact: Talus for my blog readers: “Midday sun casts small, sharp shadows on granite fallen from cliffs above. Some pieces are fresh and look like they broke off yesterday; others are overgrown by lichen or weathered to sand. We arrive to cast shadows and squint in the brightness, diminished by the grandeur.”

https://www.bellevuearts.org/exhibitions/current/ann-johnston

http://www.annjohnston.net/calendarexhibitions.html

Growing Power: Quilts by Jane Sassaman at the National Quilt Museum

Jane Sassaman, Cosmic Star (2007), 61 x 61 in. Photo by Gregory Gantner.

Quilt artist Jane Sassaman has produced some 90 works featuring fabric designed by her, of which 16 are on view in her solo show at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. Sassaman says, “This is an unusual show in that it is not about spectacular workmanship, but about making a spectacular quilt with spectacular fabrics. In most cases, the construction is pretty basic and the fabric does all the work. These quilts were specifically made to showcase the fabric. I consider my fabric designs to be ‘art by the yard.’ They are very graphic and have a definite personality and attitude. That’s why I call them ‘personality’ prints. The motifs are similar to those in my appliqued art quilts, but are printed on yardage instead. This is also the purpose of my book, Patchwork Sassaman Style. I have come to see designing commercial fabrics as contributing to the design of my time. We date vintage quilts by their fabrics and we will do the same when our quilts get older, too. Contemporary design reflects our time through color, subject, scale, materials, etc. Just as, for another example, the commercial linen embroidery kits sold during the Bungalow Movement (Arts and Crafts influence) represented a particular lifestyle that revered nature and through stylized design.” Museum curator Judy Schwender remarks, “I am so excited about this exhibit!  One thing that I hope people take away is that you can make a very simply constructed quilt from dramatic fabrics and it becomes something very special.” On view until July 11.

http://quiltmuseum.org/sassaman/

http://www.janesassaman.com/weblog/

David Begbie’s Solo Exhibition in London

One of David Begbie’s wire mesh sculptures, with shadow, in his London solo show.

 

 

 

 

Cutting Edge by noted sculptor David Begbie opened on April 26 in Contini Art UK, exploring the nature of beauty in the context of masculinity and femininity as defined by contemporary society. Begbie’s subtle introduction of androgynous elements prompts a reconsideration of gender, and his manipulation of light through wire mesh figural forms creates shadows—sometimes distorted—that question assumptions about spatial relationships and perception. The exhibition closes on May 31.

http://www.continiartuk.com/david-begbie-exhibitions/

 

 Modern Quilt Guild at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Christa Watson, Modern X (2014), an example of the Modern Quilt Guild aesthetic.

 

Extending through two galleries in the museum, Modern Quilt Guild presents 36 works by as many artists in the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), founded in 2009 and now with thousands of members worldwide. Bold and graphically focused, these quilts follow and expand upon the tenets of the MQG movement, including solid colors, minimalism, and manipulation of the grid. Amy DiPlacido, exhibition coordinator, tells us, “The show is fresh insight into the direction of contemporary quilting.” Closing on July 16.

http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/current-exhibitions/

 

 

 

London’s Fashion and Textile Museum

Josef Frank, printing block for Spring (1925-1930, one of his early designs).

Josef Frank, Spring printed textile (the printing block motifs are reversed).

Last month I promised to share more information about the Josef Frank exhibition of Swedish Modern textiles in London, and in April I had the opportunity to visit this small but chock-full venue located not too far from the famous Tower of London. Very informative, the show included printed textiles alongside Frank’s actual printing blocks and drawings of the motifs, several pieces of furniture upholstered in his fabrics, and an entire gallery of Frank watercolors, in which textiles figure significantly. My photos here give you a taste of the exhibition and the gallery space.

http://www.ftmlondon.org/

 

 

 

 

 

Josef Frank, drawing for Poison (1943-1945, while living in New York City, depicting some of the plant stimulants found in the western hemisphere).

Josef Frank, Poison printed textile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josef Frank, gallery of textiles in London’s Fashion and Textile Museum (April 2017),

Josef Frank, Watercolor (1950s, in Provence, after he stopped designing textiles).

APRIL 2017

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Book of the Month

 

Korean fiber artist Chunghie Lee finds inspiration for her artwork and fashion designs in bojagi, Korea’s venerated cloth-wrapping tradition. She discusses its history and traditional uses, and gives step-by-step illustrated instructions for the special seaming techniques used in making a variety of bojagi, including several patchwork versions. This revised edition of her book contains new sections on designing for bojagi and on its contemporary art applications. Seven projects are provided, including traditional items, wall hangings, bojagi garments, and a bojagi sculpture. Photo galleries of Lee’s artwork and of bojagi-inspired works by international artists highlight the many possibilities for using this elegant art form. Paperback, 176 pages, more than 250 color illustrations, $38 plus shipping.

www.beyondabove.com

Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Jacuzzi Jazz #1 (2015), 60 x 60 in.

40 Years of Color, Light, and Motion

The Texas Quilt Museum has opened a major solo exhibition of studio art quilts by award-winning artist Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, best known as a master colorist working in abstraction, especially for her illusions of light, depth, and motion. From 1986 until 2013, Fallert-Gentry traveled extensively, lecturing and conducting workshops for symposia, festivals, and textile arts groups throughout the United State, and in eleven foreign countries on five continents. She continues to share her expertise through her publications and website at www.bryerpatch.com. A quilt artist since 1976, she uses her own hand-dyed, painted, and printed cotton fabric for her expressive compositions. Fallert-Gentry’s geometric color studies as well as her more organic, curved-seam abstracts are inspired by visual impressions collected in her travels, her everyday life, and her very creative imagination. The exhibition closes on June 25.

www.texasquiltmuseum.org

 

 

 

Romare Bearden, Bayou Fever, The Buzzard and the Snake (The Conjur Woman, 1979), collage on fiberboard with attached string and safety pin
9 x 6 in. Copyright: Estate of Romare Bearden. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Shall We Dance?

Romare Bearden: Bayou Fever and Related Works, features a series of twenty-one vibrant collages from 1979 on view at DC Moore Gallery (New York) created by Bearden for a ballet that invokes African-American traditions and the African presence deeply rooted in the Louisiana bayou near New Orleans, and elsewhere in North America and the Caribbean. Never before shown in New York, these collages represent the main characters and settings of a performance that the artist hoped would be choreographed by Alvin Ailey. Bearden had worked with Ailey, most notably two years earlier when he created a scrim for the ballet Ancestral Voices. He had been interested in dance for some time, as his wife had her own company, the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater. While the Bayou Fever dance was never performed, the bold imagery of Bearden’s collages speaks to the power of his visual imagination and narrative strength of his original concept. Ritual, magic, and mystery infuse the Bayou Fever series. Much of the storyline involves a confrontation between the Conjur Woman and the Swamp Witch, in a dramatic struggle between good and evil that plays out in a rural cabin deep in the bayou. The dance’s imagery incorporates many of the most prominent motifs and elements found in Bearden’s art, including strong women, elders, musicians, Caribbean masquerade figures, domestic interiors, and rural landscapes, in addition to the powerful Conjur Woman. His costume designs for the characters in the dance often combine photos of African masks with pieces of cloth and textiles. On view until April 29.

http://www.dcmooregallery.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Josef Frank, Dixieland, designed between 1943 and 1945 in New York City, first printed in 1974. This is one of Frank’s “map” designs, with Africa to the right.

A Swedish Modern Extravaganza

The Fashion and Textile Museum in London has mounted the first exhibition in the U.K. of textiles designed by Josef Frank, who spent much of his career working in Sweden for Svenskt Tenn. Trish Lorenz, writing for The Guardian, tells us about Frank: “Born in Austria of Jewish heritage, Frank moved to Stockholm with his Swedish wife in 1933 … to escape growing Nazi discrimination. A committed socialist, he had a successful practice in Vienna … where he designed houses, interiors, furniture and fabrics. But when he arrived in Sweden, as an immigrant and a Jew, he couldn’t find work. ‘It was very difficult for him to get established,’ says Svenskt Tenn creative director Thommy Bindefeld. ‘People didn’t want Jewish immigrants taking their work.’ Svenskt Tenn founder Estrid Ericson was the exception: she had created the brand in 1924, with a focus on pewter pieces (‘tenn’ means pewter), but by the early 1930s her interest had shifted to interiors. Her style was functional and utilitarian, popular in Sweden at the time. Ericson had long been an admirer, so she asked Frank if he’d consider designing for her brand. His first pieces were opulent and glamorous, using luxurious materials such as brass and velvet, and introducing pattern. ‘She trusted her eye and her tastes, and didn’t worry too much about what other people thought,’ Bindefeld says. ‘She gave Frank a platform. He would have found life much harder without her, but the opposite is true, too: Svenskt Tenn wouldn’t be here today without him.’” Neither would Marimekko. The exhibition runs through May 7. I plan to visit London this month and share more information about this very interesting museum in my May blog.

http://www.ftmlondon.org/

 

 

Ashley Blalock, Keeping Up Appearances (2017 installation), cotton yarn. Photo by Christine Leong.

Time, Time, Time Is On My Mind

What is happening with time? Am I the only person who feels that the day is becoming sliced into shorter and shorter moments? What is instant everything doing to our psyches? This fleeting topic is being addressed in California Fibers: Time at The Studio Channel Islands Blackboard Gallery in Camarillo, California. Seventeen members of California Fibers (founded in 1970) interpret various aspects of time, including how time lives in our memories, how time can change, and how a lot of time was well spent creating much of the art on view. On view until May 6.

http://studiochannelislands.org

 

 

 

Durian Fruit designs, large batik panels from Turtle Hand.

Malaysian Handcrafted Batiks

The mission of Turtle Hand Batiks is to keep Malaysian heritage crafts alive and thriving, this supporting and enhancing the livelihood of individual artisan producers and their communities. The batiks can be purchased in “art panels” and in yardage, including marbled designs and fractured patterns. This company is relatively new, with their web site still being developed.

http://www.turtlehand.com

 

 

MARCH 2017

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Book of the Month

 

Fifteen years ago I learned about the magical quilts being created by Wen Redmond through photographic processes on fabric, and have followed her career with interest since then. Her new book Digital Fiber Art shares many of the artist’s techniques for texturing and collaging digital imagery, including her signature holographic effect. I asked Redmond to describe how she approaches art making: “I am a process person. My process is fed by my love of being outdoors. I’m passionate about coming up with ideas and working out the kinks. This leads to more discoveries, an evolution.  I make the art and then the art makes me. Part of that process is photography. I can see the most exquisite scenes or combinations of patterns and want to share that beauty. My art represents these moments. They are what lie beneath. I bring them back to share, to remind, to remember. These moments become my source, my well. I hope to bring that energy into my art making, to communicate the positive. Layers peeled back reveal the source, the inspiration, and my mad desire to capture thoughts, dreams, and the beauty of nature.” Digital Fiber Art is issued by C&T Publications ($29.95).

http://www.wenredmond.com/

 

 

Carolyn Crump, When Doves Cry, 2016, 46 x 42 in., photo by Ash Wilson.

Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince

The Textile Center in Minneapolis is celebrating the life and music of one of Minnesota’s most famous sons, who died last April at the age of 57. The show’s title, of course, is a pun on Purple Rain, a tribute to Prince’s favorite color and his famous song. This exhibition of quilts by 25 makers, including members of the Women of Color Quilting Network, is juried and curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, a Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellow. She comments, “I loved Prince and his music, and I was honored to be asked to curate an exhibit in his honor.  Each of the pieces in the exhibit is an endearing testament to how much others loved him as well.” This show opens on March 9 and runs through April 29 in the Joan Mondale Gallery, with an opening reception on March 9 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

http://www.textilecentermn.org/commemorating-his-purple-reign-a-textural-tribute-to-prince/

Ed Johnetta Miller, Unexpected Colors To Enliven All of Us, 2016, 36 x 40 in., photo by Ayisha Kishili.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Kelly, Dress, 1986. Purchased in 2016 by the Museum at FIT.

Black Fashion Designers

Organized by Ariele Elia and Elizabeth Way, Black Fashion Designers can be seen until May 16 in New York City in The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). Many black fashion designers have had successful and influential careers. Only a few, however, are widely recognized today. By exploring the work of these designers – both historical and current – this exhibition calls attention to the diverse perspectives they bring, which make fashion more creative and inclusive. Black Fashion Designers ambitiously features 75 ensembles by 60 designers, highlighting a range of individual styles. Black designers face many challenges, including the presumption that they work in a single “black style,” catering to only one demographic. Black designers take inspiration from many sources, but may not necessarily address race in their work. The exhibition is divided into nine themes: Breaking into the Industry, The Rise of the Black Fashion Designer, Eveningwear, Street Influence, Activism, Menswear, Black Models, African Influence, and Experimentation.

http://exhibitions.fitnyc.edu/black-fashion-designers/

 

Kansai Yamamoto, Jacket, c.1980, printed cotton jersey. Collection of the Denver Art Museum, Neusteter Textile Collection.

 

Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s

Shock Wave is the inaugural exhibition organized by Florence Müller, the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Curator of Fashion, who joined the museum in 2015. It includes twenty recent acquisitions for the Museum’s collection as well as loans from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and from private lenders. Japanese designers started a fashion revolution in Paris. This exhibition features 70 looks by powerhouse designers Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Kansai Yamamoto, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, and Junya Watanabe, whose impact on fashion still resonates today. Works on view illustrate concepts such as the intersection of tradition and modernity; the influence of pop-culture motifs; molding the body versus hiding the body with oversized shapes; reinventing the traditional Western representation of femininity; collaborations between contemporary artists and fashion designers; and, other diverse ways of challenging the fashion system. On view through May 28, 2017

http://denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/shock-wave

 

 

 

Creating Batiks in Java

Like many of us, I am concerned about working conditions in textile and fiber factories, as well as the effects of these factories on the environment.  Researching social entrepreneurial and “green” companies, I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Mrowka, the life, studio, and business partner of Debra Lunn.  This pair of artists is well known for unique quilts featuring patterns resulting from potato dextrin and resist processes. Years ago I visited their Ohio studio and was amazed by the variety and intensity of their surface designs. About fifteen years ago, a textile manufacturer asked Mrowka and Lunn to travel to Solo, Java, and see whether they could improve the quality, consistency, and efficiency of batik production in the factory there. On the first visit they spent three weeks studying the factory issues and immersing themselves in the Javanese culture. In successive future trips, Mrowka and Lunn focused on standardizing the facilities and improving the working conditions.  After five years, they found a local partner who was able to rebuild the factory to their demands—which included responsible disposal and recycling of all recyclable materials. They even recycle the 4000 pounds of wax used monthly to make the batiks.  They have a government-certified water treatment facility for all wastewater so the water that returns to the river is clean. Mrowka and Lunn also established a local non-profit organization and opened the first free public lending library to further give back to the batik community.

The factory has a very low rate of turnover, and the dye master, a woman, has been with Mrowka and Lunn for the entire fifteen years.  The artists have learned over the years how to communicate precise specifications for dye samples and pattern placement, resulting in very successful production of 15-yard lengths of batik marketed by Robert Kaufman under the name “Artisan Batiks.”  Many of the hand-printed batiks used by quilters around the world originate in the Solo factory. Mrowka and Lunn design all the batik patterns, which are sent to Solo worked into copper tjaps (pronounced “chops”) then stamped onto samples of fabric. These are shipped to Ohio, where the artists can review and adjust the designs if needed. They usually try to spend March through August in Solo, overseeing the batik production during the time of year having abundant sunshine because the batik requires the heat of the sun to set and dry.  Although Mrowka and Lunn have studio space in Solo for their own work, it’s a challenge to balance studio time with their commitments to the 500,000-square-feet factory and its workers. 

http://www.lunnfabrics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 2017

Friday, January 27th, 2017

     Book of the Month

Cerebral Touch: Lia Cook, 1980-Now

Lia Cook currently has a solo exhibition of 15 woven and stitched pieces at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, which has produced this informative 28-page catalog for the show. The catalog sells for only $15.00. Cook, who recently retired from 40 years of teaching at the California College of the Arts, “has worked in collaboration with neuroscientists to investigate the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by mapping these responses in the brain. Her recent works explore the sensitivity of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth” (Nancy Bavor, Museum Curator). Bavor and artist Leora Lutz wrote insightful essays for the catalog. Lutz remarks, “Lia Cook has been creating large-scale woven works that have been described as monumental. Viewers have no choice but to observe and interact with the work with their entire field of vision, with their entire body.” The exhibition closes on April 16.

http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/current-exhibitions-1/

http://www.liacook.com/

 

Juliet Martin, My Eyes Are Down Here: Pink (detail), 2016

My Eyes Are Down Here by Juliet Martin

ARTWORKS in Trenton, New Jersey, is featuring a provocative collection of woven pieces by Juliet Martin, with eyes everywhere challenging the viewer. How many times have you wanted to tell someone “My eyes are up here!” Martin, who often uses humor and satire in her art, seeks to nullify objectification of the female body by turning that concept on its head. She prefers to express her ideas in fibers and textiles because “weaving fabric physically and mentally attaches me to the canvas. My process is surprisingly improvisational. Decisions are made as the shuttle moves across the threads.” Martin applies the Japanese philosophy of SAORI that encourages a freeform approach: “no patterns, no rules, no mistakes.” Her solo show runs through February 18, and the opening reception is on January 28 from 6:00 to 8:00.

http://artworkstrenton.org/current-exhibits-2/

http://www.julietmartin.com/

 

Juliet Martin, Silver Sisters, 2016, 72 x 18 in. each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brigitte Kopp, Babylon, 2016, 40 in. high

Zwei Herzen hab ich… (“I have two hearts…”) by Brigitte Kopp

German artist Brigitte Koch has a solo show of 24 works at the Niederlausitz Museum in Luckau, Germany (between Berlin and Dresden, for those of you in western Europe). Sometimes Kopp feels as if she has two hearts: one that beats to abstraction and one that belongs to representational drawing created with machine-stitched lines. This dihcotomy leads to artwork in two different styles. But she always produces collages, wall objects, and sculpture sewn from layers of textiles, painted and embroidered. Brigitte Kopp describes her work as “comments and stories about people and the world,” often critiquing political and social choices affecting the environment. Her goal is “to arouse the emotions of the viewers, bringing them closer to the work and its theme.” A few years ago I met Brigitte in Berlin and was very mpressed by her artistic focus. Zwei Herzen hab ich closes on April 17.

http://www.brigitte-kopp-textilkunst.eu/

 

 

 

 

Gwen Marston, Color Study 9, 2015, 33 x 33 in.

 

Abstract Quilts in Solids by Gwen Marston

The La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum (La Conner, Washington) is exhibiting 29 stunning quilts by colorist Gwen Marston, whose surfaces hover between antique Amish quilts and the Color Field paintings of Mark Rothko. Marston explains her approach to quilt art: “When making contemporary, abstract quilts, I work almost exclusively with solid fabrics. I prefer solids for a host of reasons, none more important than the fact the line and form are more clearly defined. Solids emphasize the delineation between shapes whereas prints can blur the edges of adjoining shapes. With much of my work I first decide on the basic form I’m going to use to construct the piece (such as working in rows, or beginning in the center and working outward). Then I think about color and scale, and once I have worked out those general ideas, I start building the parts and designing the quilt as I am constructing it in an improvisational way.” The show runs until March 26.

http://www.laconnerquilts.org/current-exhibits.html

http://www.gwenmarston.com/

 

 

Cary Wolinsky, Drying Saris at the Ghats, 1992

Cary Wolinsky: Fiber of Life

This solo photography exhibition presents a series of visually arresting textile images. Wolinsky’s career as a photojournalist for National Geographic magazine has taken him all over the world and yielded numerous historical, scientific, and photographic essays.  But it was a 1972 trip to India that sparked his decades-long exploration of the culture of textiles. Wolinsky’s evocative images in his Fiber of Life series richly convey the impact of textile usage and production on eradicating societal boundaries and fostering human connection.  His images are executed with skill and a keen eye for beauty, while serving to chronicle the human experience as seen through the lens of textile traditions across the globe. Through June 25 at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.

http://fullercraft.org/event/cary-wolinsky-fiber-of-life/

 

JANUARY 2017

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Book of the Month

This beautifully produced book, with more than 570 color illustrations, comprises the first major survey of traditional indigenous textiles across the entire continent of Africa. Important influences on handmade textile production are discussed, but of greater interest for subscribers to my blog would be descriptions of the many technique and materials—especially dyes—used to achieve intense hues and inspirational patterns. Subtitled Color and Creativity Across a Continent, this 2009 publication celebrates the diverse creative talents of numerous makers. The author, John Gillow, is a noted British collector and dealer in textiles worldwide.

 

 

 

 

Pauline Burbidge, Honesty Skyline (detail of top section), 2015. Photo by Phil Dickson.

Quiltscapes and Quiltlines by Pauline Burbidge

Ten large-scale quilts and one framed piece by British artist Pauline Burbidge fill a gallery at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (Lincoln, Nebraska), with cyanotype—my favorite process—producing much of the imagery. Also on view are several sketchbooks and drawings, plus her dyeing, printing, stitching, and quilting sample collections. She creates rich depictions of nature through her mastery of large-scale textiles. Burbidge’s pieces express both distant horizons and intimate details of nature that inspire a sense of spirituality and connection: “(My) work is made by the fusing together of textiles and the natural world and the combining of elements so that you can hardly see the difference … the landscape is in the room with you.” Quiltscapes features Burbidge’s explorations of water and grasses, layered in horizontal bands with row after row of hand-stitched lines. Open until March 25.

 

 

 

Sylvia Einstein, Le Monde, 2011, 42 x 39 in.

 

The Quilted Canvas at New England Quilt Museum

This exhibition is the first in an exciting series of installations showcasing the work of New England quilt artists over several decades. The Quilted Canvas is a unique insight into the relationships of a critique group. Judy Becker, Nancy Crasco, Sandy Donabed, Sylvia Einstein, and Carol Anne Grotrian have been meeting monthly for thirty years to support and sustain each other as artists. Nancy Crasco explains, “the focus of our gatherings is always about the work: assisting with aesthetic and construction concerns, sharing opportunities to exhibit, discussing current trends in fiber, and providing the impetus to continue creating.”
The show opens on January 11 and closes April 29, with a reception and gallery talk with the artists on January 28 at 11:00 (Lowell, Massachusetts).

 

 

 

 

Jean Paul Gaultier, Wedding Ensemble, 2008-09.

Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion at The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s current exhibition features significant acquisitions of the past ten years, exploring how the department has honed its collecting strategy to amass masterworks of aesthetic and technical quality, including iconic works by designers who have changed fashion history and advanced fashion as an art form. During the seven decades since The Costume Institute became part of The Met in 1946, that collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring masterworks. Unpacking Fashion, in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, highlights approximately sixty of these masterworks from the early 18th century to the present. Even if fashion is not your thing, you will be intrigued by the ingenuity of some of these creations. This New York exhibition closes on February 5.

Geoffrey Beene, Evening Dress, 1967-68.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve.

 

Rockefeller Center holiday banners

Most people visiting New York City during the Christmas holiday are captivated by the enormous tree in midtown overlooking the skating rink. I prefer the snap and glow of the numerous silver banners surrounding Rockefeller Center, especially at night.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

DECEMBER 2016

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Book of the Month

book_redone

 

Martha Sielman, executive director of Studio Art Quilt Associates for more than ten years, has produced yet another important book celebrating contemporary quilt art. In 224 pages, the book beautifully illustrates 270 quilts from 18 countries. Sielman conducted in-depth interviews with 29 artists to explore their inspiration, working methods, and artistic growth.  Each featured artist interview showcases six of their quilts.  The interviews are interspersed with three galleries of full-page photographs of work by 95 additional artists. The author explains: “While geometric art focuses on lines and the basic geometric shapes, abstract works can range from these geometric forms to compositions based on realistic imagery that has been simplified in a variety of ways.  Some of the pieces in the book tell stories while others play with colors and forms.” Knowing the quality of Sielman’s earlier books, I can highly recommend this one, and am especially pleased to see the international coverage.

To order a copy:

http://www.saqa.com/book-ag

 

 

Sheila Hicks, Baoli Chords/Cordes Sauvages Pow Wow, 2014-15, 26 elements, each 98 x c.8in.; cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, synthetic fibers. Photo by Michael Brzezinski, courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery, London.

Sheila Hicks, Baoli Chords/Cordes Sauvages Pow Wow, 2014-15, 26 elements, each 98 x c.8in.; cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, synthetic fibers. Photo by Michael Brzezinski, courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery, London.

 

Sheila Hicks: Material Voices

The Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto presents the first solo show of works by Sheila Hicks in Canada. Organized by the Joslyn Art Museum, Sheila Hicks: Material Voices spans fifty years of Hicks’ prolific career as a fiber artist, capturing the breadth of her work from large-scale installations to small weavings made in response to specific places or memories. Placing older work in conversation with the new, Material Voices evokes this artist’s understanding of her own practice as a continuous, open field that allows for innovation, appropriation, and constant reinvention. I have not seen this exhibition, but in 2006 I spent a couple of hours viewing a major retrospective show of her work at the Bard Graduate Center in New York. Hicks’ ingenious manipulation of color and texture, especially in the context of personal narratives, can be captivating.

http://www.textilemuseum.ca/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/material-voices

 

 

 

Harriet Cherry Cheney, Gray Areas, 2016, 29 x 24 x 4.5 in.; bath mat, fabric, beads, handmade paper and paper beads, wood, yarn, metal hooks, wood, Danish coaster.

Harriet Cherry Cheney, Gray Areas, 2016, 29 x 24 x 4.5 in.; bath mat, fabric, beads, handmade paper and paper beads, wood, yarn, metal hooks, wood, Danish coaster.

 

Solo show by Harriet Cherry Cheney:

Toward Maximalism: Each Art a Whole in Itself

More than two dozen recent works of fiber art will comprise Cheney’s remarkable exhibition at The Donald Gallery, South Presbyterian Church, 343 Broadway in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Her methods include photography, painting, sewing, stuffing, embroidery, weaving, beading, and construction, with hunting and gathering a major aspect of her process. The artist comments, “The amazing thing is that my energy and ideas do not go on hiatus. I find it miraculous that there seems to be an endless well of things to try and things to express. There is a lot of experimentation in this show. I walk the tightrope between perfectionism and intuition.” Originally trained as a painter in the 1970s, Cheney has written music, poetry, and children’s fiction. After studying with mixed-media artist Ellen Alt, she has returned to visual art, with a prodigious amount of productivity since 2013. The exhibition opens December 18 and closes January 14.

http://www.harrietcheney.com/

 

 

 

 

Detail from Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS.

Detail from Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS.

Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS

Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS celebrates the tenth anniversary of the “Crochet Coral Reef,” an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring. Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes. With 2016 the hottest year on record, living reefs everywhere are under stress. Into these arenas of color huge areas of whiteness now intrude; bleaching events signal that corals are sick and dying. In 2005, in response to devastation of the Great Barrier Reef in their native Australia, the Wertheims began to crochet a simulation of healthy and ailing reefs. The Wertheims and their collaborators, a core group of worldwide “Crochet Reefers,” fabricate an ever-evolving artificial ecology. This installation at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York includes Toxic Reef, a new element in the Crochet Coral Reef collection that as a whole powerfully grapples with marine pollution and global warming. The exhibition runs until January 22.

http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/crochet-coral-reef-toxic-sea

 

Poster for Contemporary Quilt Art from the International Quilt Festival Collection on view at the International Study Center and Museum. Detail of Judith Larzelere’s quilt titled Veiled Color: Darks, 1986.

Poster for Contemporary Quilt Art from the International Quilt Festival Collection on view at the International Study Center and Museum. Detail of Judith Larzelere’s quilt titled Veiled Color: Darks, 1986.

Contemporary Quilt Art from the International Quilt Festival Collection

For more than three decades, Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes have purchased studio art quilts for their Quilts, Inc. corporate collection, mostly from exhibitions at the Houston International Quilt Festival. Founded by Karey Bresenhan in 1974, the festival quickly became a destination for quilters from around the world. For the first time ever, part of this collection has been assembled into a nationally touring exhibition. As curator for the Texas Quilt Museum (founded in 2010 by Karey and Nancy), I selected the 34 quilts currently on view, which date from 1997 to 2013. The artists range from the most famous names in contemporary quilt art to emerging artists at the time of purchase whose innovative work caught the collectors’ attention. Themes and styles in this exhibition include narration, color abstraction, landscape, the cosmos and homage to antique quilts. (The touring collection contains 25 quilts; the current show at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, includes nine additional quilts.) On view until January 14.

http://www.quiltstudy.org/exhibitions/nowshowing/internationalquiltfestival/

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey Gibson, Come Alive! (I Feel Love), 2016, 66.25 x 28 x 15 in.; acrylic felt, rawhide, wood, glass beads, stone arrowheads, steel wire, assorted beads, tin and copper jingles, artificial sinew, acrylic paint, druzy quartz crystal, steel and brass studs. Collection of the Newark Museum, 2016. Photo by Peter Mauney.

Jeffrey Gibson, Come Alive! (I Feel Love), 2016, 66.25 x 28 x 15 in.; acrylic felt, rawhide, wood, glass beads, stone arrowheads, steel wire, assorted beads, tin and copper jingles, artificial sinew, acrylic paint, druzy quartz crystal, steel and brass studs. Collection of the Newark Museum, 2016. Photo by Peter Mauney.

Arts of the Americas at the Newark Museum

In November I finally had my first opportunity to visit the Newark Museum (founded in 1909), the largest museum in New Jersey, which is undergoing an ambitious program of renovation and development. One of the impressive new permanent displays, Arts of the Americas, features some 100 objects representing Native Artists of North America, including beadwork, baskets, and other forms of fiber and textile art. Most of the works date from the 19th to the late 20th century. The exhibition also offers Latin American art spanning several centuries, with Central and South American textiles represented by fine examples from Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia. Recently the Curator of American Art commissioned an amazing beaded figural piece from Jeffrey Gibson, who is part Cherokee and Choctaw. The Museum’s Chief Curator, Ulysses Dietz, comments on this acquisition, “The Gibson commission had two purposes: to add a dynamic and exciting new work to our newly-designed spaces, and to reaffirm the Newark Museum’s founding commitment to support the work of living American artists. In 1912 we were collecting Native American art as modern American art, and we still do today.”

http://www.newarkmuseum.org/arts-americas

Eunice Carney, Dance Boots, 20th century. Collection of the Newark Museum.

Eunice Carney, Dance Boots, 20th century. Collection of the Newark Museum.

 

 

NOVEMBER 2016

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

  Book of the Month

aaa_textile-collage

Textile Collage: Using Collage Techniques in Textile Art by Mandy Pattullo, 2016, 128 pages with color illustrations throughout—yet another stimulating publication from Batsford, a fiber-friendly U.K. publisher. Pattullo begins her introduction with a quotation from collage artist Kurt Schwitters, situating her book within an art milieu. Encouraging artists to repurpose antique and vintage textiles, including old quilts that have seen better days, the author discusses materials, techniques, and storage, and shares advice about making portraits, garments, and artists’ books. If you are finding yourself stalled in your studio, I highly recommend Textile Collage to help get your creative engine started again.

http://www.mandypattullo.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

Hurlyburly by Orly Genger

Monumental organic forms comprise Hurlyburly, Orly Genger’s installation in Austin, Texas, on view until the end of February.     Genger, a New York-based artist, takes the domestic art of crocheting to a powerfully dynamic level, using only her hands to construct loops of thick, rough lobster rope into gigantic strands. Industrial rope became available for communities beyond fisherman several years ago when floating lines for lobsters had to be replaced by sinking rope to protect the rare right whale. This artist’s involvement with repurposed material resonates with the productions of environmental artists, and her landscape art embraces an aesthetic closer to works like the curvilinear installations of the Finnish artist and architect Marco Casagrande, notably his woven willow Sandworm on the Belgian coast. Orly Genger successfully mediates between painting and interactive sculpture, managing to create appealing constructions on a very human scale, in tune with both nature and art.

Orly Genger, Hurlyburly (detail, 2016); recycled lobster rope and paint. Dimensions variable. Presented by the Waller Creek Conservancy in collaboration with The Contemporary Austin. Installation view, Waller Delta, Austin, 2016. Artwork copyright Orly Genger. Courtesy the artist. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons.

Orly Genger, Hurlyburly (detail, 2016); recycled lobster rope and paint. Dimensions variable. Presented by the Waller Creek Conservancy in collaboration with The Contemporary Austin. Installation view, Waller Delta, Austin, 2016. Artwork copyright Orly Genger. Courtesy the artist. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons.

http://www.thecontemporaryaustin.org/exhibitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Touch: The Expressive Magic of Judith James

Textile artist Judith James passed away in 2015, leaving an impressive body of work still being discovered by her husband, quilt artist Michael James. As a tribute to his wife, James has created a web site documenting her work, and is helping to assemble pieces for a solo exhibition at the New Bedford Art Museum, January 6 – March 19. Judith James describing her process: “The stitched resist dyeing techniques that I’ve been using often produce soft, slightly out-of-focus effects. These sometimes result in a kind of luminosity, or a kind of hazy glow, that suggest to me the first light of dawn or the waning light of late afternoon. This kind of light lowers visibility and softens the landscape. There’s an intimacy to even the broadest landscape in these moments. For me this connects with the intimacy of the processes and materials I use in creating these textile constructions. Throughout their making I have moments of awareness of their strength and their fragility, of their responsiveness and their resistance to those manipulation processes, and of my flip-flopping roles as both the maker and recipient of their own spontaneous and often accidental metamorphoses.”

Judith James, Folio (2004), 15.5 x 22.5 in.; screen printed, dyed, and discharged cotton, silk and Hindumoni paper; hand stitched and embroidered.

Judith James, Folio (2004), 15.5 x 22.5 in.; screen printed, dyed, and discharged cotton, silk and Hindumoni paper; hand stitched and embroidered.

http://judithjamestextileart.com/

http://newbedfordart.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilts=Art=Quilts

This annual juried exhibition has become well known for the variety and quality of quilts selected. Like Quilt National, Quilts=Art=Quilts has no theme, allowing the jurors a free hand in selecting quilts for the show. The 2016 show includes works by Liz Axford, Betty Busby, Elizabeth Busch, Shin-hee Chin, Jette Clover, Judy Langille, and Janet Steadman. At the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, New York, the exhibition closes on January 8. The jurors were Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Valerie Goodwin, and Judy Kirpich, who chose 65 quilts from 185 submitting artists. Goodwin shared these thoughts about jurying the show: “Judy Kirpich, Terry Jarrad-Dimond and I were honored to be selected to jury an amazing and varied array of contemporary art quilts. In the age of the Internet, the jurying process can now be done virtually while jurors are located in their respective spots on the globe. We found this new way of seeing and discussing artwork to be engaging and almost seamless. We were able to talk about color, detail, and artistic vision as if we were all in the same room. We began the jurying session after reviewing the work individually. Armed with our own thoughts and notations, we felt that an interesting discussion ensued. As we talked and became more comfortable with the process and one another, I think that we were able to select a good balance of work with strong intent, masterful craftsmanship, and aesthetic appeal.”

http://www.schweinfurthartcenter.org

Judy Langille, Ancient Composite 1 (2015), 56 x 36 in. On view in Quilts=Arts=Quilts. Photo by Peter Jacobs.

Judy Langille, Ancient Composite 1 (2015), 56 x 36 in. On view in Quilts=Arts=Quilts. Photo by Peter Jacobs.

 

 

 

 

Hope Wilmarth, Urban Cathedral (2016), 45 x 44 in. On view in Breakout: Quilt Visions 2016. Photo by Rick Wells.

Hope Wilmarth, Urban Cathedral (2016), 45 x 44 in. On view in Breakout: Quilt Visions 2016. Photo by Rick Wells.

Breakout: Quilt Visions 2016

Quilt Visions, a theme-based biennial juried exhibition, challenges the jurors as well as the artists to focus on a specific concept. For 2016, the jurors were artists Elizabeth Busch and Katie Pasquini Masopust, along with Marci Rae McDade, editor of Surface Design Journal. In response to my email inquiry, McDade had this to say about her experiences as a juror: “It was fascinating to hear how each juror was drawn to different works of art for various reasons. Months later, seeing the physical pieces in person at the opening was magical; only so much of their merits can be appreciated from photos. It was also an honor to hear so many of the artists speak about their work in person at the gallery tour. I am always keen to learn about their methods of making and inspirations compared to my preconceived notions or assumptions based on the limited information I have to judge the work. Speaking to everyone at the panel discussion about the jurying process was flattering and fun. I think everyone was pleasantly surprised by my candor when I explained that my approach to choosing provocative new works that challenge and expand the definition of a studio art quilt often hinges on figuring out if a piece is ‘edgy’ or ‘crappy’.” Amen to that! Breakout is the 14th Quilt Visions exhibition, produced by the Visions Art Museum: Contemporary Quilts + Textiles (VAM). The exhibition can be seen at the Museum in San Diego, California, until January 8.

http://www.visionsartmuseum.org

 

 

OCTOBER 2016

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Book of the Month: Something Different

Preprints: Material in Motion, 10th North American Textile Conservation Conference (2015), with CD of articles and images. Texts in both Spanish and English, $30.

Preprints: Material in Motion, 10th North American Textile Conservation Conference (2015), with CD of articles and images. Texts in both Spanish and English, $30.

If you do not work with 3-D objects, knits, or feathers, this book is probably not for you. But since many of us are becoming interested in three-dimensional creations and odd materials, I want to share the extremely informative articles in this publication. The most surprising text explains the amount of stretch and actions for recovery of Patrick Kelly’s knit dresses displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For textile and fiber artists thinking of installing any type of shelter-like structure, you will learn a lot about support systems in the article on movable architecture, including Ottoman tents and George Washington’s field tent. If you are using feathers, beware of flying! An article on protecting 3-D objects during transit reveals that in airplanes the shafts of feathers can quickly become dehydrated and crack. Advice is given on how to protect them. In addition, should your work suffer damage from muddy water, an article gives professional advice on cleaning textiles in the aftermath of such a disaster.

http://www.natcconference.com/images/2015_media_files/2015_toc.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Genius of Ann Hamilton at Work in Philadelphia

Ann Hamilton: habitus installation at Municipal Pier 9, Philadelphia.

Ann Hamilton: habitus installation at Municipal Pier 9, Philadelphia.

Cloth making, among the oldest forms of human cultural production, provides inspiration for Ann Hamilton’s multi-venue project, habitus, located at three sites: The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Municipal Pier 9, and on social media. habitus weaves text, textile, and image together as mediums for an imaginative and tactile exchange between artist and audience. The museum’s galleries display Hamilton’s selection of historical objects—including literary commonplace books, textile sample books, dolls, and needlework portfolios—borrowed from Philadelphia museums and public collections. In the vast space of Municipal Pier 9 on the Delaware River, visitors propel a field of gigantic cylindrical curtains to billow to atmospheric proportion. Hamilton’s multi-venue exhibition invites us to touch and be touched by the fabric of human experience. She is an extraordinary artist whose work I have admired for decades, especially her ability to work from small to large scale with great aplomb. The pier installation closes on October 10, and The Fabric Workshop exhibition on January 8.

http://www.fabricworkshop.org

 

 

 

 Textile Dialogues at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art

Donna Sharrett: Love and Affection (2013), 36 x 36 in.; neckties, necktie interfacing, upholstery fabric, jewelry, trimming, guitar strings and ball-ends, dirt, bone beads, buttons, synthetic hair, and thread. Photo by Margaret Fox.

Donna Sharrett: Love and Affection (2013), 36 x 36 in.; neckties, necktie interfacing, upholstery fabric, jewelry, trimming, guitar strings and ball-ends, dirt, bone beads, buttons, synthetic hair, and thread. Photo by Margaret Fox.

The Thread You Follow: Debra M. Smith and Donna Sharrett explores the work of two fiber artists who employ eclectic practices that bridge the conventional divide between crafts and fine art. Both artists repurpose found fabric in their compositions, which is painstakingly cut and stitched together to form compatible, yet distinct, bodies of work. Sharrett employs a sculptural approach to explore memory and symbolic ritual in her circular assemblages. Smith takes a more painterly interest in the arrangement of her fabric scraps, and concentrates on the formal language of shape, color, and texture in rectangular arrangements that yield a cubist-inspired graphics. Sharrett explains that her works in the show “are meditations on memory; where flowers, music and belongings serve as its repository, and are arranged within a numeric cadence inspired by the sacred geometry of Gothic cathedral rose windows, religious prayer beads, nature, and music. Guitar strings, for example, are used as a dedication to my brother, Scot Sharrett (1961-2001), as are the song titles chosen to name the works.” The museum is located in Sedalia, Missouri, and the exhibition runs until December 20.

http://www.daummuseum.org/event/the-thread-you-follow-debra-smith-and-donna-sharrett/?mode=current

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reuse of Textile Waste Celebrated by the Cooper Hewitt

Luisa Cevese Riedizioni: Bag, Large Basket (2014, textiles since 1996); silk selvedges, polyurethane. Courtesy of Luisa Cevese Riedizioni.

Luisa Cevese Riedizioni: Bag, Large Basket (2014, textiles since 1996); silk selvedges, polyurethane. Courtesy of Luisa Cevese Riedizioni.

Offering creative, alternative approaches to confronting textile waste, Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse presents the work of three designers who put sustainability at the heart of the design process: Luisa Cevese, founder of Riedzioni in Milan; Christina Kim, founder of dosa, inc., in Los Angeles; and Reiko Sudo, managing director at NUNO in Tokyo. Each designer’s practice involves innovative and sophisticated reuse of textile materials and resources, while engaging in preservation of local craft traditions. Through more than forty works, the exhibition explores key facets of sustainability, such as the efficient use of materials and resources, the preservation of local craft traditions and the integration of new technologies in the recycling process. Amazingly, these designers are finding that reusing textile scraps can be financially viable. Their ingenuity is impressive. On view in New York until April 16.

http://www.cooperhewitt.org/channel/scraps/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you believe that the “Summer of Love” happened nearly 50 years ago?

Therese May: The Spirit of the Dream (1999), 71 x 71 in.; studio art quilt. Photo by Richard Johns.

Therese May: The Spirit of the Dream (1999), 71 x 71 in.; studio art quilt. Photo by Richard Johns.

 

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles (California) brings us The California Art Quilt Revolution: From the Summer of Love to the New Millennium, with more than 40 works. In the final decades of the 20th century, California quilt makers charted new territory in the art form, leading the nation in creativity and innovation. During the 1970s and 1980s, California artists were among the first to embrace the quilt medium as their primary means of expression. More traditional quilters also expanded their horizons, creating original designs based on traditional quilt patterns. This exhibition includes works by pioneers of the art quilt movement, including Therese May, Jean Ray Laury, Yvonne Porcella, and Joan Schulze, who pushed the boundaries of what could be called a quilt, and highlights late 20th– and 21st-century artists working in contemporary quilt art. Therese May recalls that summer: I loved the “Summer of Love!” That was in 1967, the summer we moved from Wisconsin to California so my husband could teach at San Jose State University. Being in the San Francisco Bay area at this time was both inspiring and mind blowing! I met many artists, such as David Gilhooly, who made breakthrough art in ceramic sculpture, and Maija Peeples, whose paintings were colorful, funny Funk Art. I was innocently working in the cloth medium, not knowing what a big deal it was until much later!” Organized by Nancy Bavor, Curator of Collections, this exhibition opens on October 7 and closes on January 15.

http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/upcoming-exhibitions/

 

 

 

 

As many of you know, I am the curator for the Texas Quilt Museum, involved with exhibitions and educational programming. To celebrate our FIFTH YEAR(!) we have launched a fundraising campaign via the Generosity platform of IndieGoGo, in which the Museum receives all funds donated. It would be so very nice if you could donate a little to help raise funds for our educational programming. This blog has 700 subscribers, and $5 from each of you would nearly reach our goal! (Thanks once again to those who have already donated.) The web site for our campaign is:

https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/educational-programs-from-the-texas-quilt-museum–2

 

 

 

September 2016

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

BOX_BP pub coverBook of the Month

This publication documents an important fiber exhibition (see below) premiering this month at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Commissioned by Lloyd Cotsen for his extraordinary collection, the exhibition features 36 artists who were challenged more than ten years ago by Cotsen’s longtime curator Mary Hunt Kahlenberg (d. 2011), to create a three-dimensional work that would fit into a smallish, shallow box. His current curator, Lyssa Stapleton, remarks that the project “is about challenges—asking weavers who work in two dimensions to conquer three-dimensional space, requiring artists making art on a grand scale to work in miniature, and inspiring sculptors, painters and designers to create something with fiber.” Available from the Fowler Museum, 336 pages.

 

 

Nancy Koenigsberg, September Harvest, 2008. Photo by Bruce M. White, copyright Lloyd Cotsen, 2016.

Nancy Koenigsberg, September Harvest, 2008. Photo by Bruce M. White, copyright Lloyd Cotsen, 2016.

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads

Artists in the exhibition include Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Helena Hernmarck, Ai Kijima, Gerhardt Knodel, Nancy Koenigsberg, Cynthia Schira, and Richard Tuttle. In his essay for the exhibition catalog, Bruce Pepich (Racine Art Museum) notes that Nancy Koenigsberg’s piece “relates to her work at the time that suggested an interest in, and also a departure from, basketry techniques and forms applied to the unconventional use of metal wire.” Considering the project as a whole, Pepich concludes: “The degree of thoughtful analysis that went into each Box Project is indicative of the ongoing positive influence of these artists on the fiber field at large.” The exhibition opens at the Fowler Museum on September 11 and continues until January 15. It will travel in spring of 2017 to the Racine Art Museum, and then to The Textile Museum at George Washington University in autumn of 2017.

http://www.fowler.ucla.edu

 

 

Allyson Allen, African Ladies, 1998, 92 x 89 in.

Allyson Allen, African Ladies, 1998, 92 x 89 in.

 

African-American Quilts and Textiles by Allyson Allen

With sixty quilts on view, Allyson Allen’s solo show at the African American Performing Arts Center in Albuquerque presents a broad array of her talents as a quilt artist, ranging from 1992 until this year. She creates quilts in traditional as well as contemporary styles in a cross-disciplinary approach to the medium. Allen refers to her works, mostly consisting of narratives and story telling, as “information art.” Many of these quilts include text highlighting various events in Black history. The exhibition can be seen through October 22.

http://kuumba421.wix.com/quilts421

 http://www.aapacnm.org

 

 

 

Judith Content, installation photo of Labyrinth, 2015, 64 x 81 in. At the near left is a work by Jill Norfords Clark (U.S.A.); the piece to the far left is by Quiglin Wu (China).

Judith Content, installation photo of Labyrinth, 2015, 64 x 81 in. At the near left is a work by Jill Norfords Clark (U.S.A.); the piece to the far left is by Quiglin Wu (China).

Exterior of The Central Museum of Textiles (Lodz, Poland). Photo by Judith Content.

Exterior of The Central Museum of Textiles (Lodz, Poland). Photo by Judith Content.

15th International Triennial of Tapestry (Lodz, Poland)

California artist Judith Content is among the five participants from the U.S. invited to exhibit in the 15th International Triennial. She created a piece specifically for the exhibition (see image) and attended the opening celebrations. 136 Artists from 46 countries are participating in the main exhibition. In a related exhibition at the museum, the Young Textile Art Triennial introduces the fiber and textile works of students in 21 art schools from Bucharest, Chicago, Helsinki, Prague, Tokyo, and several other cities. Closing on October 30.

http://muzeumwlokiennictwa.pl/1-triennale/1/534,15th-international-triennial-of-tapestry-lodz-2016.html?lang=en

 

 

 

 

VALYA, detail of Speechless Scroll II, 2012, which includes industrial felt and newsprint paper among the materials.

VALYA, detail of Speechless Scroll II, 2012, which includes industrial felt and newsprint paper among the materials.

California Fibers: Eclectic Threads

The Oceanside Museum of Art (Oceanside, California) is hosting California Fibers: Eclectic Threads, which includes two- and three-dimensional pieces in a wide range of materials: silk, bamboo, wool, wire, paper, etc. California Fibers, founded in 1970, supports artistic growth and professional advancement for contemporary Southern California fiber artists. The Ukrainian-American artist VALYA has a piece in the exhibition addressing the “human hunger to know of one’s origins, the concept of identity, and the visual exploration of memory.” This exhibition runs through October 9.

http://oma-online.org/exhibitions-oma/