Celebrating Fiber Art, this exhibition will paired with The Quilts Unlimited Exhibition an will show other fiber art forms including weaving, embroidery, needle felting, etc. other mediums celebrating fiber techniques will be included.
Johnson City, TN
Laura Bowman is a self-taught fiber artist living in East Tennessee. She creates knotted sculptural tapestries by combining her unique adaptation of an old macramé technique with a modern textile aesthetic using wool, cotton, and acrylic fibers. When creating a tapestry, she uses her knotting technique to form and manipulate an organic design. Allowing the process to dictate the flow, while also making very specific decisions along the way, she guides the piece towards a visually stimulating conclusion of color, texture, and movement that pushes simple pieces of string and yarn into three-dimensionality. Her work is fueled by a desire to breathe life into that single strand and, by joining it with others, enable it to occupy space in a meaningful way. Her current work is an exploration in emotional tension; a visual expression of the internal chaos of anxiety that appears controlled, harmonious, and beautiful on the surface. These pieces represent the emotional labor of maintaining that appearance while dealing with feelings of displacement and disquietude, and the struggle to organize feelings of chaos and separateness into order and belonging. While the knotting process is slow and intense, the use of soft materials and soothing designs to express the duality of this inner and outer dialogue is meditation as well as physical, artistic creation and release.
Fiber Art North East
The Fiber Art North East group of artists from CT, NY, and NJ created small-scale pieces of fiber art using a strict size limitation of 4” x 12”. Each piece includes fiber (fabric, paper, etc) in some form and stitching, either by hand or machine or a combination of both, and any technique of the artists’ choosing. Challenging themselves to stay within a size restriction was an interesting creative exercise that resulted in work that stretched each artist. See more of their work at www.fiberartnortheast.com
I was born in the West of Ireland, where I lived until my late twenties.
The vast ocean, the barren land with its bent trees, the wind sending clouds racing across big skies, the brown bogs stretching as far as the eye can see, grey stone walls circumscribe fields, creating landscapes in gaps between the stones and the ancient mountains cloaked in sweet smelling gorse, live in my bones. This land is always in me and my work is inspired by it.
To begin, my soul is touched by a moment in my current life. As I reflect on this, Ireland’s textures, colours, materials and forms provide the language to capture the meaning of this experience. I create my vessels in accordance with this root language. Abaca Fibre, rope, driftwood, stones, seed pods and other detritus are the rudiments of this vernacular.
Vessels are my major form and provide an ideal vehicle to explore my inner and outer worlds. I embark on a journey with each idea and see this as a dance between creator and created. When the vessel transcends my initial idea, my story is complete and the vessel is ready to continue its journey beyond me.
My work blurs the boundary between textiles and glass, challenging our preconceptions of both. In knitted glass, we discard the utilitarian so the structure of the material takes precedence over its function. We notice the twisting interconnection between the stitches, the deepening of color where the stitches overlap, the luminous layers of the fabric and the spaces between the stitches.
Like Rumpelstiltskin turning straw into gold, I reveal the structure and craft of knitting using light and the transparency of glass.
But this work goes beyond mere process and appearance. It comes out of my need to make connections and to celebrate the bringing together of many individual stitches into a larger whole: a metaphor for the grass roots of social structure. An individual strand, weak and brittle on its own, becomes deceptively strong when formed into stitches and knitted together. You can crack or break single threads without the whole structure falling apart. And even when the structure is broken, pieces remain bound together. Just like our social fabric, the connections are what bring strength and integrity to the whole and what keeps it intact. In a country becoming more and more divided, my need for connection has kept me symbolically stitching us back together.
And to symbolize stitching us back together, much of my work employs actual knitting needles. This immortalizes the creative act by creating a finished piece depicting a work-in-progress. Like an ouroboros (the snake that consumes its own tail), my pieces are knitting themselves, and yet they will never finish because they are already complete. A snap shot in time. This makes me laugh. As a creator of objects, the creative act always holds precedence over the finished product. The critically important act of stitching us back together deserves its place on a pedestal.
My sculptures are personal meditations on the beauty of natural forms and their growth, physically and metaphorically. I hope that my work contains a quiet presence that warrants closer observation. My intention is to draw the viewer into my work by adding recognizable elements along with the imaginary. I find that when we are looking at objects we are familiar with, we tend to overlook the details. With the combination of the known and unknown, I want viewers to look with a fresher eye, without preconceived ideas.
These pieces are hybrids of flowers, seeds, marine life, fruit, succulents, and more all combined in a way intending to provoke contemplation. Each one is a delicate synthesis of botanical forms that are in various stages of maturation. I often anthropomorphize these forms to increase our connection to them. Using hard and soft materials, I explore a sense of protection, vulnerability, and fragility of life forms. I enjoy playing with certain nuances within these elements, like the tension created by a swollen berry or the way a stem bends as it reaches towards the sun. I attempt to capture a sense of tenderness and vitality with a minimalist approach, allowing the viewer to dwell in their stillness.
“Pins and needles” means something entirely different to me than to most. Fiddling with fabric and threads and findings of all sorts is a delight and a passion. I have earned a living with pins and needles, creating ballet costumes on both coasts. Now I stab things for fun. I create my “feltie selfies” to make my moods, feelings, troubles and views tangible, like a journal entry or a selfie. But without the duck lips.
I have turned my efforts to become environmentally conscious into an art form. There is much beauty to be found in every day objects that we normally throw away. I take joy in watching people try to figure out the origin of my materials.
In my most recent piece, I have crocheted plastic bags into a quilt using the traditional “granny square” technique. I learned to crochet from my mother 25 years ago, who in turn had learned from her mother 35 years before that. The idea of marrying the past and future by combining a classic art form with unconventional materials, coupled with the opportunity to raise awareness about plastic in the environment is exciting to me.
Image Microcosm by Rachel Montrory