Labor of Love Fiber Arts Exhibit

Labor of Love Fiber Arts Exhibit
Texas Museum of Fiber Arts
Texas State Capitol
May 26-28, 2007

This exhibit was shown at the State Capitol and generated a considerable amount of attention by both deliberate attendees and those wandering through the Capitol as tourists or employees. A contentious Legislative Session contributed to the foot traffic as well! It was a pleasure to see the range of techniques and level of expertise represented by the 30 pieces selected for display.

My only disappointments were that Dallas had only one artist represented and that there was little documentation of the pieces on display. Several pieces were profound and complex, yet the viewer was left to wonder what materials and techniques were used, and what the motivations and inspirations of the artists were. Because this exhibit was intended primarily for the general public, it would have been helpful to have had better explanations of each piece. This would have given viewers a deeper understanding of the range of media and techniques used in contemporary fiber arts.

Highlights included:

  • Leslie Klein’s series of three garments, all relate to the Mother figure. Her Smoking Jacket was a mélange of textures and surfaces stamped and embroidered onto silk noil, embellished with trims, all singed and burned away at the cuffs and hem.
  • Dangling Participles was the featured piece for the exhibit brochure, easily earning its place for its design, thoughtful content and innovative technique. Rachel L. Edwards-Ridder’s weaving of clear IBM Selectric tape on woven and stitched paper forms an ethereal grid, drawing the viewer into the work to study her deliberate words. Her Unsheathed printed paper, collaged high heel pump, with its beaded nail embellishments and exposed innersoles also shows her mastery of using the printed word in unusual ways.
  • Carmel by Iva Jenson was another intriguing entry. She wove a three dimensional map of Carmel using a colored printed map and a black and white map printed onto transparency film, offsetting each layer to create depth and illusion.
  • Missing due to display problems was the monumental Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, a huge cross stitch of the chapel ceiling that took Joanna Lopianowski-Roberts over nine years and three thousand hours to complete.
  • Also included was a large mosaic, dyed hide flag of Texas, a paper encrusted lace grid in a body form shedding its paper on to the floor, a laminated felt scarf, several quilts and soft sculptures, and cast paper pieces, and an appliquéd Western style leather vest.

The sponsor is the Texas Museum of Fiber Arts, a museum without walls, founded by Carol Ikard of Austin for the purpose of taking fiber art to as many locations in Texas as possible. This is an ambitious project which will serve to educate the public and to invite interested fiber artists in exhibiting their work.

For information and to download a membership form, see the website at www.texasfiberarts.org. Let’s see more Dallas area artists represented in the next exhibit!