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Nov/Dec 2005

Jennifer Angus: Insect Patterns
Pattern & Textiles Reading List
News & Notes from the Fiber World
    Gail Katz-James
    South African Textiles
High Fiber & More: Exhibitions and Reviews Survey
Upcoming Issues


News & Notes from the Fiber World

Here is the latest news from the fiber world.

Check out our November/December 2005 issue for more news, including:

  • Details on a recent project at Mass MoCA, Dave Cole’s The Knitting Machine and on an upcoming U.K. exhibition of textiles by Reiko Sudo and Nuno
  • News briefs about SOFA Chicago, the Bellevue Arts Museum’s fibery fall plans, John Garrett’s installation at Racine Art Museum, new exhibition catalogues, and research grants being offered by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design.



At these major shows, collectors can find work by artists and craftspeople from across the country. Works in fiber as well as other media are available.

palmbeach3, West Palm Beach, Florida
January 13–16 (private preview, January 12)

American Craft Council Show, Baltimore, Maryland
February 24–26 (wholesale only: February 21–23)

American Craft Council Show, Atlanta, Georgia
March 10–12

American Craft Council Show, St. Paul, Minnesota
April 7–9

Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, D.C.
April 20–23

SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) New York
June 1–4 (opening preview, May 31)

American Craft Council Show, San Francisco, California
August 11–13 (wholesale only, August 9–10)

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 2–5 (preview party, November 1)

American Craft Council Show, Charlotte, North Carolina
November 3–5

SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) Chicago
November 10–12 (opening preview, November 9)

American Craft Council Show, Sarasota, Florida
December 1–3

SAN FRANCISCO FIBER TOUR | An exciting program in San Francisco is being offered by Friends of Fiber Art International from Friday, October 14, to Tuesday, October 18. The program includes tours of the new San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, the new galleries at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum, and the new deYoung Museum; a walk-through of Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion with curator Melissa Leventon at the Palace of the Legion of Honor; and visits to collectors’ homes in the area. Amid the tours and free time, activities such as shopping, wine tasting, and brunches are being arranged. For information and to register: (708) 246-9466.

ART BRAS | The Way to Women’s Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports women’s health, has partnered with Vanity Fair Intimates of Alpharetta, Georgia, in producing a calendar fundraiser. The proceeds from the 2005 ArtBras calendar, totaling more than $50,000, were donated to breast cancer research. The 2006 ArtBras features bras created from a variety of techniques (including beaded, embroidered, and quilted bras) and includes for each a story of who might have worn it. Shown is the April 2006 image, Persephone’s Return by Sharon Benton

For more information and to view the ArtBra selections, visit

EDUCATION | The Fashion Institute of Technology announces its first bachelor’s degree program in Visual Arts Management. The program is designed to train noncuratorial professionals for the art industry. For more information, contact the Office of College Relations at (212) 217-7642 or, or visit Penland School of Crafts has completed its Preserve Penland campaign, raising more than $11 million to assist in improving housing for residents and studios, expanding the gallery, and completing other renovation and repairs. The Kansas City Art Institute announces a new book that celebrates its 120 years. The History of the Kansas City Art Institute: A Century of Excellence and Beyond by Milton S. Katz, PhD, is available at the KCAI’s Art Supply Store, located at 4421 Warwick Blvd.; to order a copy, call (816) 802-3426.

NEVER TOO YOUNG | Sixteen-year-old Elissa Willms (shown below) opened her own quilt store Hopscotch Quilt Shop in Coaldale, Alberta, Canada. At age seven, quilting became her love, and now she runs her own store fifteen hours a week still leaving time to complete high school via internet. Hopscotch Quilt Shop, 1401 20th Ave. Coaldale, Alberta. For information, contact Elissa,


MUSEUM NEWS | The Goldstein Museum of Design has a new director, Lin Nelson-Mayson. She arrives at the Goldstein with an extensive background in the fine arts, experience in positions of museum leadership, and experience as a chair and as a board member for several associations and committees. The Robert C. Williams American Museum of Papermaking, located on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, doubled its space in September. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of papermaking artifacts. The Museum of Craft and Folk Art will be moving by the end of 2005 to the heart of downtown San Francisco. The new location will be on Yerba Buena Lane in close proximity to a diverse collection of other museums. The Museum at FIT is launching a permanent exhibition on fashion and textile history in November. Rotating displays from the museum’s collection of 50,000 garments and accessories and 30,000 textiles will be on display in the new gallery. In addition, the Fashion Institute of Technology received a million-dollar gift to create a new accessories collection department within the museum. The new showcase will provide visitors with greater access to the approximately 15,000 objects, which were previously grouped with costumes.


by Veronica C. Wilkinson

If work is love made visible, the achievements of the South African Innovative Threads group prove that love’s labors are anything but lost. Initiated by textile artist and quilter Margie Garratt, the group’s annual exhibitions have traveled in South Africa and abroad. Exhibition 2005, a juried show of textile works, opened in Cape Town in May, and members of Innovative Threads have just returned from Val d’Argent, France, where they represented South Africa as one of ten participating countries in the 11th Carrefour Européen du Patchwork festival. A lecture by Celia de Villiers on patchwork and a walkabout were well attended, and public response was enthusiastic.

The group was founded ten years ago when, inspired by Africa’s beauty and its challenging contradictions, Garratt and her husband decided to convert the wine cellar of their 200-year-old Cape Dutch homestead into a gallery. Their first exhibition took place in 1996, and professionally produced catalogs have documented the fiber art displayed each year. (Copies can be ordered from their website at The group has exhibited in South Africa, England, France, The Netherlands, the United States, Japan and New Zealand. From sales of the work Innovative Threads have raised R480, 000 (about $72,000) to provide preschool education and care for children from disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape.

Recent Innovative Threads exhibitions have included hand-stitched and crafted textile creations from empowerment groups formed to supplement insubstantial incomes in rural South Africa. Garratt has sought and found indigenous crafters whom she has helped to design, produce, manage and market products while developing their creative skills.

This year at the group’s May exhibition, Garratt announced her retirement as curator of Innovative Threads so that she can pursue art making, study, travel, and family life. (The gallery venue in her home will remain available to the group.) Her leadership has inspired creativity in a part of the world that is welcoming the adaptation to democracy and exposure to global perspectives denied during the apartheid era.

For more information, visit Innovative Threads’ website,

Veronica Wilkinson is a South African artist based in Cape Town who studied in London and Tokyo and works commercially as a painter, illustrator, writer, lecturer (specializing in South East Asian architecture and culture), and occasional poet.

Margie Garratt, Infanta Hills, 2005; cotton, silk, and assorted fabrics and thread; hand and machine stitched; 36 1/2″ x 47″. Photo: Cornel De Kock.

Jenny Hearn, Red Thread, 2005; hand-dyed fabric, hand and machine embroidery, quilting; 58″ x 54″. Photo: Cornel De Kock.

AWARDS | The Allentown Art Museum announced winners for A Season of Toiles Quilt Challenge Exhibition: First place, Donna Laing’s Reconstruction; second place, Jannett Caldwell’s A Season of Toiles; third place, Ellen Sappington’s Toile Antilogy.

Land of Odds, Be Dazzled Beads, and The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts announced the winners of the Ugly Necklace Contest: First place, My Cajun Condiment Collar by Jann Ferris of Vicksburg, Mississippi; second place, I, I, Eye by Mary Poag of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

GEAR TO GET | Following its conference in Kansas City in June, the Surface Design Association has aprons, T-shirts, CDs of its member show Constants and Variables, and videos of two sessions (Balancing the Surface with Joy Boutrup and Yoshiko Wada, and Printmaking with Disperse Dyes with Lisa Grey) available for purchase online.

TAPESTRY ONLINE | The American Tapestry Alliance, in an effort to give tapestry greater visibility, has launched a series of online exhibitions (, click on “Exhibitions”). The first, called, was curated by Linda Wallace in Canada and Dorothy Clews in Australia. The organization hopes to offer three to four web exhibits a year.

No Small Feat

Gail Katz-James’s 49 Squares, a 21- by 21-foot artwork, has covered a giant wall in the courtyard of the Minnetonka Center for the Arts in Wayzata, Minnesota, since May and will remain up through the end of October. After conceiving the project in 2003, Katz-James spent the next two years designing it and coordinating the creation of the forty-nine 3- by 3-foot squares that would make up the piece. Using polar fleece strips and surplus knitted trim to create knotted pile and twill weaves on synthetic felt backgrounds, Katz-James utilized the same techniques she typically uses in her art pieces, which are usually much smaller in scale. The final step of the long process was to combine the separate squares into one piece on the courtyard wall by lashing them together on a grid of piping. Volunteers were an integral part of every step of the work’s creation. For directions and more information about the arts center:

49 Squares installed at Minnetonka Center for the Arts.
In the foreground is a work by Roger Junk. Photo by the artist.

Althea Lamb, a sculptor, at work on the installation. Photo: Carl Beihl.




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