Last July I quietly entered the 10th year of my textile/fiber entrepreneurial adventure. I have been working with cloth, fiber and allied processes for over 20 years but doing so as a livelihood came a bit later. 10 years is a milestone, worthy of much review and assessment. As 2015 came to an end, I began that review. In the midst of my musings on the past year’s fiber/textile-art, design, and making, I had a chance to see a couple of shows which I found inspiring (note to self: get out and see more work by other makers!). Here are some impressions:
Early December: I am fortunate to have a friend who insists I see Indigenous Beauty at the Michael C. Carlos Museum* (s/a my postscript below) before it closes (alas, it did close on January 3rd). We go together and supplement the show’s interpretive content with our own; I am always enriched my friend’s observations. Much of the show’s gratification for me is in its substantial assemblage of textile-based artifacts, largely vestments, bags, sheaths and shields. Many of these pieces are imbued with ritual significance. As we walk through the gallery, the energy and vitality of these pieces fills the space with a palpable solemnity; beauty, indeed, and truth. This work has deep roots. I am reminded that the fiber/textile continuum stretches far into the past (well beyond the time of the makers of these artifacts), and far into the future during which, if humans manage to survive the Anthropocene, textiles will be re-visioned through both familiar and as yet undiscovered materials and techniques. I am privileged to be a participant in that continuum.
Currently at the Ventulett Gallery, Fractured features works by Lynn Pollard and Karen Reese Tunnell. In contrast to its title, my impression of the work of these two artists is one of continuity and solidity. Both artists works’ are quite complex, layered with rich, abstract detail and nuance. Each body of work “speaks” in visual “harmonics”: one quietly powerful, contemplative, the other energetic, vibrant, and assertive. Both resonate with something almost primordial, owing much of their intensity to the careful management of inherently unpredictable base techniques (successive indigo vat immersion and marbling, respectively). I feel a kinship with these artists and recognize a shared source of inspiration. Seeing this show reminds me of how lucky I am to have gravitated toward textiles and fiber as my central media/formats. If you have any doubt as to the power of techniques and materials generally associated with fiber/textile craft to move the heart and soul on a universal level, go see this show. It will change your mind. Show closes on January 22, 2016.
Postscript: Turning over a new leaf, my husband and I went to the Carlos this past Sunday. I happen to live within walking distance of the museum and although my intention has always been to make the connect at least one a month, I have not been able to do so. This year, I hope to make good on my intentions! K.C.