A few winters ago, I was invited to the Pentaculum at the Arromont School of Arts & Crafts. It was an amazing time, sharing a space with fiber artists from across the country. I spent a lot of time in the library, looking through books while sewing..and then staying to sew while the poets in residence read from their work. I have two pieces on view that were inspired by my stay. Above is Through these wood breathe gold, a set of boxes that stacks and supports each other, within a a handmade fence of sticks. The sticks I gathered from walks in the woods and on the grounds. There was an unfortunate fire in the Smokies later in the year on my stay, so the trees I gathered these from are gone. When I would walk in the evening or look out my window, there were so many twinkling lights peering out front hills in the evening. I started to think about all of the artists and crafters of the past, who spent time there, too. Each of us contributing to the next person’s work, whether personally or not.
This piece is in Telling Her Story Creating the Future: A Women’s History Month Exhibit, March 4-28, at URI Providence Gallery
Tuft Enough, is in Twisting Fibers, An Art for All Reasons, and is at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center in Pawtucket. This piece is made from hand tufted betting slips from my visits to the local drug store. It was January when I was there and I was thinking about how paper can be source of warmth, that in old houses it was saved in floorboards to keep out the draft. Curated by Anastasia Azure and the Art League of Rhode Island. On display through May 8,
“Twisting Fibers into string is as old as humanity and has contributed to the survival of our species in similarly important ways as food itself. Using our hands in the creation of fiber products is akin of early mark making. Industrialization and its inexpensive mass production have nearly eradicated these fundamental expressions of human evolution. Handwork together with hand writing arelosing their relevance as our hands are trapped at keyboards and on screens. Nevertheless, fiber art has gained renewed interest, and as much as it is a remnant of the past it is claiming its place in the future as a mindful creative process practiced by most diverse communities and individuals all over the world.
As time itself has become one of the hottest commodities of the 21st century, the labor intense and time consuming nature of handwork stands in stark contrast to the increasing rush that consumes so many of today’s industrialized societies. This imbues handwork with a new value. We can see in a handmade object that time slowed down, which in turn creates a sense of restorative pause. We enter a world where the process cannot be rushed or forced but where the maker had to submit to the inherent nature of handwork, a meditative creative process integrating body, soul and spirit.”