Online exhibition explores diverse, vibrant stories behind some of America's best fiber artists

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Online exhibition explores diverse, vibrant stories behind some of America's best fiber artists
Jiyoung Chung, New Perspective II.

BOSTON, MASS.- In its new online exhibition, “Fiber Stories,” the Society of Arts + Crafts digs deep into the connection between personal storytelling and craft. “Fiber Stories” highlights the full spectrum of fiber crafts, showcasing more than 45 national artists with a breadth of experience and styles in basketry, weaving, felting, knitting and quilting. Several artists apply classic fiber art techniques to unexpected materials. “Fiber Stories” debuted on the SA+C’s "Fiber Stories" page July 16th, 2021 and runs through August 29, 2021.

Part of SA+C’s rotating online showcase spotlighting multi-discipline craft exhibitions with retail, entertainment and educational experiences, “Fiber Stories” features weekly events with artists sharing stories that offer an in-depth look at their work, their practices, and their world views. Events include exclusive artist interviews, behind-the-scenes demonstrations, and live-streamed conversations with notable experts in the fiber art field.

Visitors will see and be able to purchase a wide range of home goods, wearables, jewelry, accessories, decorative art, and wall hangings in a variety of price points and styles. A sampling of “Fiber Stories” artists includes:

● Jiyoung Chung of Providence, RI, who is internationally recognized for bringing “Joomchi'' -- a Korean tradition of hand-felting Hanji (mulberry) paper -- into the world of contemporary art. In Jiyoung’s hands, the ancient craft takes on a contemporary appearance and encourages healing by infusing air, light, and beauty into her work;

● Dallas visual artist Alisa Banks, whose textile collages tackle identity politics using found materials (fibers, text, photos, and plants) incorporated into the work to evoke magical childhood memories and reflect aspects of the Louisiana Creole culture;

● Boston artist Nathalie Miebach, whose sculptures nod to an obsession with order in science and nature. She translates it into fun, functional home goods using basket-weaving techniques that suggest nests and webs rendered in vibrant colors;

● Brighton, Mass.-based Nancy Crasco, who combines printmaking and fiber art, creates dreamy gelatin and linoleum prints on silk organza that calls attention to the effects of climate change on coral reefs, on Quahog clams, and on sea turtles;

● South Carolina fiber artist Connie Lippert, who highlights the rich history of the indigo plant and its applications in early America, by using leaves from her garden to hand-dye yarn for wedge weave-style tapestries.

Many of the artists in “Fiber Stories” bring a twist to commonly-held expectations of textile art by applying fiber-based techniques to mediums other than fiber and fabrics. One artist uses paper and wood pulp in a way that suggests oil painting; another weaves in metal.

Executive Director Brigitte Martin says fiber arts’ unique ability to spark conversations, capture personal histories, and create a community feeling came into sharp focus during the coronavirus lockdown, which saw a remarkable resurgence in the popularity of weaving, knitting, sewing, and quilting. The instinct to create textiles and socialize, either in person or online, highlights the deep impact these craft traditions can have on personal well-being, healing and happiness.

“Community and sharing is a core value of the fiber arts scene,” Martin says. “One of the first things we saw people do in the pandemic, both artists and hobbyists, was to take to sewing machines and make protective masks for themselves and other people. There’s a deep connection between making something and the emotional result it yields both for the maker and the recipient.”

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