A Hearty Helping of Fiber

I’m fortunate to live within easy driving distance of the Kent State University Museum in Kent, Ohio. In early December I checked out two fiber related exhibits – Entangled, Fiber to Felt to Fashion and the American Tapestry Alliance’s 10th biennial juried show.

It was such a pleasure to see work by artists who are masters of their techniques. Too often felted and woven items can come across as earnestly homemade and lumpy.

As with many textile/fiber exhibitions, the photos really don’t do justice to the works. A few photos from the tapestry show are on the American Tapestry Alliance’s website, though my favorites don’t seem to be available online.

kuchmablurose1webLialia Kuchma

“North Coast Reflections”

One highlight for me was a birch forest installation of slender 10 foot tall tapestry woven columns set at angles to each other. I felt I was in a forest as I walked around this piece. The artist had woven a carved heart into one of the trees. Another wonderful piece of a rabbit and its shadow was done in slit tapestry weaving. This difficult technique was executed beautifully. I wanted to put a light behind it to see what effect that would give.

The Entangled show was put together for the museum and showed off garments made of nuno felt. According to Wikipedia, the nuno felting “technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. The fibres can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allows the backing fabric to show.”

These pictures are from the exhibit’s catalog.

Marjolaine_Arsenault_EntangledNina_Vance_EntangledMarilou_Moschetti_EntangledDena_Gershon_EntangledThese garments looked wonderfully soft and airy. Many of the dresses would have been perfect for the 1920s. I just wish the catalog had gotten the artists to talk more about the hows and whys of creation, rather than recording the often pretentious (to me) artists’ statements. Example: “…this vest is inspired by the movement of our lives like water…like rivers, like friendships, like sisters by choice.” But I guess that’s one of the differences between craft and art.



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4 responses to “A Hearty Helping of Fiber

  1. How nice to have access to these shows! The college where I taught had a Fibers program in the Design department and I loved seeing what the students did–so thoughtful and experimental.

    • I didn’t mention it in the post, but the museum is tied to the university’s school of fashion. Students from that school have a store in downtown Kent where they sell the clothes and accessories they make. Pretty cool stuff. Too bad I’m no longer in my 20s. Of course some of the items for sale are instant deja vu as I wore that sort of stuff in my 20s.

  2. jennyklyon

    Oh I WANT one of those nuno garments!

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