Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fiber innovations at Convergence exhibits

One of the best parts of attending a conference like Convergence is seeing what other fiber artists are doing.  There were several exhibits associated with the event, and I was honored to be in two of them!  As always I was struck by the variety of expressions possible in fiber, and by the sheer inventiveness of other artists.

The work of teachers at the conference was on display in a show called Gathering by Waters.  There were many pieces I really liked.  It is hard to choose which ones to share with you, but  here are a few:

Marcia Weiss, Water Lily, warp ikat, linen
I love the simple abstracted design and the gorgeous color of this ikat.  The blurred, watery edges of the shapes perfectly suit the subject and allude to the dyeing process involved.

Kathleen Zasuwa, Ancient Grafitti:  Lines to Letters, 8-shaft undulating twill, cotton, wool, silk,
metallic threads, patinated copper cut into strips
I love how Zasuwa used copper strips in combination with a traditional weave structure to make an enigmatic diptych.  I wonder how she kept the cut copper edges from cutting the other threads?

Another artist also used metallic threads to make an affecting image: 

Louise Lemieux Berube, Flower #1, Jacquard weaving with pigments,
Tencel, stainless steel, copper, linen, wool
detail, Berube, Flower #1
This piece made me smile.
Hollie Meltzer, Lossy Format #1, crocheted "pixels," cotton floss, thread, poly organza backing
detail, Hollie Meltzer, Lossy Format #1
I just think it's terribly witty and maybe a little crazy to crochet approximately a billion tiny (about 1/2" diameter) circles to render a classical image in a pixelated format.  It feels very contemporary.  "Lossy format" indeed!

Hollie Meltzer did another pixelated face in a very different technique: 

Hollie Meltzer, Blow-Up, reverse applique, machine and hand stitching,
poly organza, cotton fabric, poly and cotton thread 

detail, Hollie Meltzer, Blow-Up
Where's the reverse applique?  The top layer of white poly organza is selectively cut away within the stitched grid to reveal gray fabric underneath.  Many of these gray squares are then hand-stitched with varying densities of dark line to make further value changes which in turn create the very blurred, pixelated image.

Sarah Warren, Long Night over the Canyon, Navajo wedge weave, cotton warp and hand-dyed wool weft
detail, Sarah Warren, Long Night over the Canyon, Navajo wedge weave, cotton warp and hand-dyed wool weft
I'd never seen wedge weave used to portray a landscape,  It seems like the perfect union of subject matter and technique to me, capturing the colors and stark landscape of the southwest.

Molly Elkind, Red Letter Day, tapestry, cotton, wool.
I'm honored to be in good company, next to a tapestry by Ruth Manning! 
I saw two other shows as well; those will have to wait for my next post.  The American Tapestry Alliance (ATA) had its very popular unjuried small format (under 10" in any direction) show. Tapestry Unlimited, at the downtown Milwaukee public library.  And  HGA's biennial Small Expressions exhibit of fiber pieces was at the fabulous Milwaukee Museum of Art.

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