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Sept/Oct 2006

Sampling: A Showcase of the Human Form
Fiber in Philly
News & Notes from the Fiber World
      News from Convergence
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News & Notes from the Fiber World

Here is the latest news from the fiber world.


Check out our September/October 2006 issue for more news, including:

  • Paula Nadelstern’s Copyright Case: Quilts, Commercial Fabrics, and Carpets
  • The Tree Hugger Project in Missouri
  • China’s upcoming From Lausanne to Beijing 4th International Fiber Art Biennale
  • The Textile Museum Thesaurus
  • In Memoriam: Budd Stalnaker
  • And more

Discarded to Divine: Art Wear Inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement of Design was installed at the de Young Museum in San Francisco on March 31. This exhibit was cosponsored by the Vincentian Help Desk (a program of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco that provides support to the homeless and working poor), Gensler architecture firm, and the de Young. It represented the best of works created by the students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and San Francisco State University’s textile department in The College of Creative Arts.

The artwear pieces in this exhibit were created from used clothing obtained from the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s clothing giveaway program. The clothing that the students received from the Vincentian Help Desk was deconstructed and then reconstructed for this highly imaginative and inspired exhibit.

The fashion show, reception, and auction at Gensler that took place on April 6 raised more than $25,000 in aid for the severely disadvantaged population of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. All the pieces from the show are pictured online.

Photo: Dawn Marie Forsyth.

Jill Berganz, I will not be cold. Photo: Karrie Hovey.

Photographed and composed by Karrie Hovey.

The United Kingdom’s Embroiderers’ Guild is celebrating its centenary this year. The organization was started in 1906 by sixteen graduates of the Royal School of Art Needlework program. A commemorative exhibit, In Our Time, will be part of the Knitting and Stitching Shows taking place in Birmingham (September 14–17), London (October 12–15), Dublin (November 2–5), and Harrogate (November 23–26). Also touring the U.K. are “art of the stitch,” the guild’s biennial exhibition of contemporary embroidery, together with SCHOLAR, highlighting the guild’s scholarship winners; these shows are on view at The Hub in Sleaford (July 7–August 28) and Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead (September 17–November 19). The organization has a museum at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, sponsors workshops, and publishes the magazine Embroidery.

FIBER POSTCARDS AT SEA by Carolyn Lee Vehslage
While I was the artist-in-residence onboard the Crystal Serenity from January 18th to May 5th, I hosted a fiber-art postcard exhibition. Artists from across the U.S. mailed me their artwork just before I departed for the around-the-world voyage. Along the way, I picked up additional postcards from fiber artists in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. My plan is to continue to exhibit the collection of postcards, and I am currently looking for venues. You can see them posted on my website.

[Ed.—As described in an article by Maureen Egan in our April/May 2006 issue, fabric postcards are usually 4" x 6" and made of fabric, often with a layer of batting and with stitched and painted embellishments. Artists address them on the back, attach a stamp, and mail them.]

Elly Dyson, The Waves.

Therese May, Untitled.

Carol Larson, A Fabric Bowl that Morphed into a Postcard.


  • The American Craft Council announced Awards of Excellence for eight artists at its Baltimore Fine Craft Show in February. Winners who work in fiber were Ann Brauer, a quilt artist; Marcia Derse, who creates handpainted and dyed fabric constructions; and Lynn Whipple, a mixed-media artist whose collage work was featured in our Summer 2005 issue. The awards acknowledged work that “evidence[d] understanding of the elements of art and design, mastery of materials and techniques, imagination, inventiveness and individuality, as well as aesthetic consistency.”

    The Baltimore show, the largest juried indoor craft show of its kind, was celebrating its thirtieth year; it featured more than 700 artists, and about 22,000 people attended. New at this year’s show was a series of educational talks, including one by Patricia Burling, the president of the Fiber Artists Collective, on how introducing handwoven fibers into a house can make it home. Said Carmine Branagan, executive director of the American Craft Council, “We look forward to the continued expansion of our educational outreach programs, both at our shows and in the community through school presentations, lecture series, and more.”

    Ann Brauer.
    Marcia Derse.

  • The Rosen Group selected six promising new artists as 2006 Merit Award winners for its summer Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft, July 21–23. Felt artist Lori Flood of Morganton, West Virginia, was the fiber winner. The Merit Award is designed to help emerging artists successfully enter the wholesale marketplace. Winners--chosen for their innovative designs, creative works, and market viability--received free booth space and were assigned a mentor to guide them through their entrance into the wholesale American craft community.

  • There was a trifecta of fiber among the awards at the 24th Annual Smithsonian Craft Show held April 20–23 in Washington, D.C. A Gold Award went to metallic-basketry and jewelry artist Dennis Nahabetian (whose work appeared in our November/December 2004 issue), a Silver Award to Tim and Kathleen Harding for their wearable creations (who has appeared in Fiberarts many times over the years), and the Bronze Exhibitors’ Choice Award to Renee Harris (whose work was featured in our Summer 2006 issue).

Renee Harris receives Bronze Award for her decorative fiber arts work. Presenters are Jane and Arthur Mason, Exhibitors Awards Committee chairs.

Focus Fiber, a biennial juried exhibition of contemporary fiber art from the Midwest, is now on view in Ohio and will travel to southwestern New York state this fall. Juried this year by quilt artist Nancy Crow, the show is organized by the Textile Art Alliance, an affiliate group of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The show is at the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve in Cleveland through July 28, then will travel to the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University September 22–November 26. A catalog is available ($12 plus shipping); to order, e-mail
Award winners were as follows:

  • First Place: Fuyuko Matsubara, In the Earth Part 1
  • Second Place: Myra Serrins, Shift
  • Third Place: Si-Yun Chang, Polaris (read more about this artist in the November/December 2006 issue of Fiberarts)
  • Award of Merit: Patricia Williams, Huron 1 and Huron 3
  • Award of Merit: Constance Miller, Places #1, Places #2, and Paper Garden #13
  • Award of Merit: Eliza Brewster, Veiled Threat and Hide & Seek #1

Caryl Bryer Fallert has received the 2006 Silver Star Award from Quilts, Inc., producer of quilting consumer and trade shows such as the upcoming International Quilt Festival (Houston, November 2–5). The Silver Star Award is given annually to living persons who have made a lasting and positive impact on the field of quilting and textile art over their careers. Fallert, who lives in Paducah, Kentucky, was chosen for her contributions in several areas, including being an established and influential quilter, designer, teacher, and author. Her art quilts incorporate her organic, curved seam designs, active use of color, and illusions of light and motion.

Caryl Bryer Fallert. Photo courtesy of Quilts Inc.

Place des Arts, a cultural complex in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has named textile sculptor Elyse De Lafontaine as the winner of the fifth annualŒuvre d’art éphémère (ephemeral artwork) contest. Her piece Bâtons de prière (Prayer Sticks), composed of fifteen upright sticks adorned with multicolored feathers and textiles, will be installed in the Esplanade fountain this summer.

Elyse De Lafontaine, Bâtons de prière (Prayer Sticks).

The organization Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) has announced dates for its upcoming exhibition Transformations: artists working with fibers. The show will open at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, August 17–20, and then travel to three venues: Translations Gallery in Denver, Colorado (November–December); the International Quilt Festival in Chicago (April 13–15, 2007); and Grants Pass Museum of Art in Grants Pass, Oregon (May 29–July 27, 2007).

A separate exhibition, SAQA: The Creative Force, will be part of the International Quilt Festival in Houston, November 2–5. Sewing-machine manufacturer Janome is sponsoring the publication of a full-color catalog.

The European Textile Network (ETN) announces that its 14th ETN Conference will take place in September 2007 in Great Britain. The theme will be “Collaboration across Textiles and Technology,” and the host is Janis Jefferies of the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre at Goldsmith College of the University of London. Note to travelers: ETN offers a wonderful resource on its website: suggested routes for visiting textile spots of interest across Europe.

In our Summer 2006 online News and Notes we included information about The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth. The first complete showing of the forty-nine panels combined into seven cloths representing the seven continents of the world will be August 19–November 30 at Saint Paul’s Chapel in New York City. The work is part of an exhibit commemorating the fifth anniversary of September 11th at the Ground Zero chapel. Founder Terry Helwig started the project in reaction to September 11th. She collected donated weft threads from around the world that often came from clothing and other personal artifacts, which were woven into symbolically unifying cloths by weavers across the globe. After the exhibit at Saint Paul’s, The Thread Project will continue traveling around the country. A calendar of exhibits is available on the project website. St. Paul’s Chapel, 209 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. (212) 233-4164.

Hope Materializing (with detail), 2003; 12'x 7'. Photo credit: Rick Rhodes. One of seven cloths, woven from thousands of donated threads. The panels are “buttoned” together with clay buttons made by clay artist Susan Ryles and imprinted with the word “hope” in different languages. (The button shown here says “hope” in Serbian.)

Twist + Shout: The New Needle Arts, a traveling exhibition of work in embroidery, knitting, crochet, needlepoint, and cross-stitch organized by The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) and curated by Michele Tuegel, has added more showings to its schedule. Organized to celebrate TNNA’s thirtieth anniversary and to initiate a two-year outreach program, the exhibition includes the work of fourteen artists: Stephen Beal, Linda Behar, Sara A. Christensen Blair, Reina Mia Brill, Robert Calvo, Pate Conaway, Tom Lundberg, Lindsay Obermeyer, Liz Whitney Quisgard, Patricia Roberts-Pizzuto, Donna Rosenthal, Hrafnhildur Sigurðardóttir, Elly Smith, and Nathan Vincent. The accompanying catalog was sponsored in part by Interweave, publisher of Fiberarts, and includes essays by Fiberarts editor Sunita Patterson and Paula Bradstreet Richter, curator of textiles and costumes at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts. The show opened at Florida Craftsmen in St. Petersburg in January. Future dates are:

For the ninth year in a row, September will be A Month for CERF, when numerous galleries and online studio-craft sellers will be donating portions of their proceeds to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund. This organization offers support for craft artists in times of income-threatening challenges such as illness and disasters. By the time of its twentieth anniversary in 2005, CERF had distributed more than $650,000 in grants and loans and $200,000 in donated services. The organization also offers professional-development resources, such as seminars and articles in its newsletter, to help craft artists learn to avoid and lessen the impact of emergencies. A list of dealers taking part in A Month for CERF will be posted on CERF’s website.

In our Summer 2006 issue, we wrote about Swap-O-Rama-Rama, the clothing-recycling effort started by Wendy Tremayne in New York City. These events offer an opportunity to trade unwanted clothing for what others brought and to transform the new duds with screen printing, alterations, embroidery, and more. The largest swap to date took place over two days in April in northern California; it was attended by more than 2,500 people (including actress/video-blogger Daryl Hannah, who did some filming) and recycled approximately 6,000 pounds of clothing. Swap-O-Rama-Ramas have taken place now in cities from Durham, North Carolina, to Jerusalem. Upcoming events are planned for Oakland, California (August 12); Vancouver, Washington (August 27); Tallahassee, Florida (September 9); New York City (October); and Los Angeles (December).

Istanbul-based textile collector Murad Megalli has donated a collection of 148 Central Asian ikat weavings to The Textile Museum. One of the largest additions to the museum’s holdings of Central Asian textiles, the gift includes men’s and women’s ikat coats, overgarments, pants, cradle covers, hangings, and fragments from Uzbekistan.

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) in Philadelphia has appointed Lorie Mertes as its new Director. Mertes comes to FWM from the Miami Art Museum, where she has most recently served as Assistant Director for Special Projects/Curator. She will oversee all aspects of the day-to-day management of the FWM and its artistic and educational programs. FWM has also appointed a new Director of Development and Communications, Laurie McGahey, who worked at the museum from 1998 to 2002 and most recently worked in development at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. FWM, founded in 1977 by Marion Boulton Stroud, who is still the organization’s artistic director, is the only nonprofit arts organization and collecting institution in the United States devoted to creating artwork in new materials and new media in collaboration with emerging, nationally, and internationally recognized artists.


  • Grimanesa Amoros: Between Heaven and Earth, Rootless Algas. This catalog accompanied an exhibition of installations by Amoroson display March 29–June 17 at the Hostos Center for Arts and Culture, Bronx, New York. It includes a foreword by Wallace I. Edgecombe, the center’s director; an introduction by Edwin Romaran, director of the Longwood Arts Project; and an essay by art historian Susan Aberth. The hardback full-color catalog, published in association with University of Washington Press, can be ordered ($24.95) from the museum store online or by calling (253) 284-3009.

  • Fashioning Tradition: Maya Huipiles, by J. Claire Odland. This recent publication from the Field Museum of Chicago is part of the Fieldiana Anthropology series. Huipiles, traditional Maya women’s blouses, are usually elaborately brocaded by hand on a backstrap loom. Changes in huipil fashion--including popular techniques, motifs, and colors--reflect political, economic, and social changes in the lives of indigenous women. The study analyzes 145 huipiles collected during the period 1893–1995 from seven towns in the Guatemalan highlands, now stored in the Department of Anthropology at the Field Museum. The publication ($40), sixty-seven pages with sixty-six color and four black-and-white illustrations, is available through Fortsas Books. For more information, contact J. Claire Odland, Associate, Anthropology, Textiles, The Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605-2496. (773) 539-6978;

  • Making More Than Sense, by Ralph Caplan (a visiting artist at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts August 21–September 2, 2005), is Haystack’s eighteenth monograph. The series was begun in 1990 to address issues related to craft and its relationship to our world. Caplan is the author of a multitude of books on the design process; writes the monthly column “Noah’s Archive” for Voice, the online journal of the American Institute of Graphic Arts; and has taught writing and visual art at a number of prestigious universities in the United States. Order ($4.50) by calling (207) 348-2306 or from Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, PO Box 518, Deer Isle, ME 04627.

  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken, four generations of African-American Quiltmakers. This issue of A Report from the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco discusses the cultural story embodied within the exhibit, which was on display May 4–July 23. Eli Leon, curator of the exhibition and longtime quilt collector, selected quilts from four generations of one African American family from Texas that carries on the tradition of improvisational quilt making for the exhibit. The issue is full of vibrant color pictures of the jazz-like quilt compositions accompanying an article by Leon on process, material, technique, color, ethnicity, and inspiration in relation to each of the four family members and their work. To order the publication ($5) download the Publication Order Form from the publications page of the Museum of Craft and Folk Art’s website.
The Guild, Inc., has launched a new catalog, Artful Jewelry & Other Treasures. The first edition features thirty-two pages of 180 artist-made jewelry and gift items; it can be accessed online. As in The Guild’s The Artful Home catalog, which focuses on home décor, all items featured in Artful Jewelry & Other Treasures are handcrafted and are shipped directly from artists’ studios to customers’ homes. In the fiber category, a few scarves, by Hilary Gifford and Britt Rynearson, were included in the first edition of the catalog; plans are to expand the selection of fine wearables in the future.

The stitched works of Margaret Cusack have been chosen as the artwork for the 2007 Hitachi calendar in Japan. Thirty thousand copies of the calendar will be printed. Cusack’s retrospective exhibition, Uncommon Threads: The Stitched Artwork of Margaret Cusack, will be exhibited Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi Department Store later this year (it debuted at the Museum of American Illustration in New York City in October 2005).

Margaret Cusack, Nighttime. This work is the July image of the 2007 Hitachi calendar.

The International Quilt Study Center, based at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has broken ground on its new building, a 37,000-square-foot facility that will give the center its own exhibition space and expand its storage facilities. A festive ceremony in May marked the beginning of construction; the building will open in 2008. The architects are Robert A. M. Stern Architects of New York City in collaboration with Alley Poyner Architects of Omaha, Nebraska.

The center was formed in 1997 when Ardis and Robert James donated their 950-quilt collection to the university. The center’s mission is “to encourage the interdisciplinary study of all aspects of quiltmaking worldwide and to foster the preservation of this important cultural tradition through the collection, conservation, and exhibition of quilts and related materials.” Since then, the center’s collection has grown to more than 2,000 quilts, and contemporary art quilts are an active focus of acquisition.

The center is planning a symposium early next year that is designed to attract students and teachers of the fiber arts, especially quilting. With a theme of “Traditions and Trajectories: Education and the Quiltmaker,” this third biennial symposium will take place March 1–3, 2007. Invited speakers will include quilt artist Jean Ray Laury and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts director (and poet) Stuart Kestenbaum. Several fiber-arts exhibitions around town will coincide with the symposium, including one showing works by well-known fiber-arts teachers and their students, and another featuring works by UNL students produced as the result of a challenge the IQSC is sponsoring.

The Tennessee Arts Commission has announced two new arts-education grant opportunities for institutions based in that state. Arts Education Mini-Grants are designed to introduce new applicants to the grant-making process, assist applicants who are new arts-education providers, or provide support to applicants with unanticipated short-term or one-day arts-education projects. Teacher Incentive Grants provide stipends to teams of educators attending professional development training opportunities in arts integration for the purpose of infusing the arts into the general curriculum. Complete guidelines and applications for these grants are available on the commission’s website.



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