Sunday, February 28

Text/ Textile(?) Final Roundup

The closing reception for Text/Textile was held this afternoon at DaVinci Art Alliance. It's been a fantastic month, with a gathering for the exhibition every weekend throughout February despite the brutal weather we've been having here in Philadelphia. I thank Kathryn Pannepacker (the curator) and David Foss (the current director at DaVinci) for spending so many hours sitting the gallery and for making this show a success!

So, I thought I'd do a final roundup and share some of the pieces I haven't yet spoken in depth about. This group of artists really push the concept of "Textile" by using materials not normally associated with fiber arts. The field of Fiber Art is an expansive and inclusive one, and we cannot limit our notion of fiber to thread or fabric.Both of these works by Caroline J. Maw-Deis explore quilt patterns but use commercial packaging (above) and soda can aluminum (below) instead of fabric as the material. Instead of stitches, glue and nails hold the pieces together. These pieces descend from quilt traditions, but are no longer textiles.. they are text tiles. I think it's interesting how Caroline's choice of material reflects our current consumer culture, which drowns out our past traditions and values. I first met Caroline at a Philadelphia Handweaver's Guild workshop I taught on Color Theory in Textiles last Spring. Based on her website (click link above) and the evidence in these pieces, color is an important aspect of her artistic exploration.Speaking of quilt traditions, Francine Strauss is another artist who spins quiltmaking in her piece "Pondering the Possibilities". I'm not sure exactly what possibilities she's pondering, but it certainly seems like she's pushing the possibilities of the quilt. Her piece is dense in both physical and visual layers: fabrics, applique, painting, stitching, found object, print text, pattern, and color. When does a quilt become a painting? When does a painting become a quilt? You might look at Lesley Haas' work and question- "Textile"? For those of you who don't know, paper IS a fiber, and therefore falls under the great Fiber Arts umbrella. The fiberness of paper is more evident in Lesley's alphabet piece, above. I assume this piece was created by laying a freshly pulled sheet of handmade paper over a mold, creating interesting contrast between the hard edged mold areas and the drapey natural border. By choosing the alphabet, traditional samplers are referenced. Below is Lesley's "Text" collage, a compendium of scrolled found papers with various found objects like keys hanging from the frame. The scrolled papers create a sense of mystery- glimpses of text and color lure the eye, but remain hidden within the scroll. Instead of handmade paper, this piece uses recycled/found paper and links it to the many other pieces in the show that included found objects.
I've written about Lesley's work before, but today was the first time I'd ever met her. It's great to finally meet the personality behind the work.
Patricia Doran's work was one that explored the art of the found object. Her 2 quilt/object pieces were chock-full of the ephemera and detritus of life. The image above with detail below, "Thoughts Assault My Peaceful Sleep", shares how she feels about the accumulating stuff that litters our lives. I'm intrigued by her use of the netting to physically trap all the objects, but to also represent a mental filter for all the stuff.Patricia's piece "City Sidewalk" was more literal and gritty, filled with the unaltered litter of the streets in a sort of trompe l'oeil. The objects do not transcend their place, but bring the textile down to join them.My own work in the show explored the found object, but my attempt was to transform the objects I found glittering in the gutter to appreciate their forms and incorporate them with thread and fabric much like a beaded embroidery would be.
By using the objects found along my path, the images become connected to place and time... for me anyway.

I hope you've enjoyed my descriptions and experience of the Text/Textile exhibit. Although the works no longer grace the walls of DaVinci Art Alliance, there will be another chance to see them assembled in a May exhibit that will be held at Some Things Looming, a brand new fiber-focused gallery in Reading, PA. They are launching the gallery with a grand opening on the weekend of March 13-14th. If you're in the Reading area, check it out!


  1. Hi Marie:
    It was a pleasure to meet you at the text/textile reception on Sunday. Yea for fiber work that integrates found objects! keep up the good work.
    Constance Old

  2. Thanks Constance!
    I'm glad we got to meet! It was quite a networking day for me, as I got to finally put faces with a lot of names. I hope you'll have more excuses to participate in things down here in Philly!