Sunday, February 14

Embroidery at Text/Textile

Since the Text/Textile show is an exhibit of fiber art, there are many techniques on display. Of course, as an embroidery artist myself, I'm always drawn to the stitched work. Today I'll share 3 artists whose embroidered work was impressive.
Maryann Laverty's work "Pre-Text", above, combines handwoven silk, nuno felting, and embroidery. I saw this work in an earlier incarnation during a Philadelphia Handweaver's Guild meeting. At that point it was just the woven white silk with areas of black patterned weaving and long float areas of raw warp. Leaving the unwoven sections allowed for a more cohesive felt process, and her use of the earthy wool color cut the high black/white contrast of the weaving. It was a surprise, then to see that this piece had shifted away from "scarfness" and become cut, embroidered, and mounted like artifacts onto stretched black fabric. The upper sections of branch elements and the lower section's dotted lines are embroidered and create the impression of mapped terrain, rivers, and routes to follow, such as pre-literate societies might have made on cave walls or leather hides. It's been several years since Maryann took an embroidery class of mine, and I'm excited to see where she has taken her skills!
The embroideries of Pat DiPaula Klein are sampler-like in format, but contain a symbology that is a mystery to me. I feel like we've moved up a few millenia from Maryann's cave wall maps to see registers of Sumerian Cuneiform... According to her artist statement, the work was inspired by a college drawing professor years ago who told her that "the work in the margins is better", and the forms are inspired by a highschool shorthand study. I feel like I could look at these for a long time and remain entranced, puzzling meanings and creating interpretations. For more of her work look here. Jeannie Moberly's "Replaced Involving We" is a triptych of papier-mache framed embroideries (I only have shots of 2 of the 3 though). I mentioned before that the frames bother me, but I think it's because they create a very deep shadow that overwhelms and obscures the delicate stitching. Once I get to the stitching, though, I fall in love. Jeannie has a distinctive mark and way of building texture. Her color is subtle and makes you follow texture in order to decipher and discover form. Perhaps I'm being impatient with the work and need to take more time to absorb how the text and imagery inform each other. For more of her work look here. Text/Textile is not the only fiber event in town right now. Check out FiberArt Philadelphia for more listings.

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