Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef - Part 2

More corals for the Smithsonian's Community Reef! These are by our member Barbara Rushworth. A "sea rose" is shown above. The project leader asked for corals to "go up", to add lots of vertical visual interest, and Barbara was listening!

"Eared Anemone"

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

Several of our gallery's members (as well as members of our parent guild) contributed their time and talent towards a very unusual upcoming exhibition. The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will display the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef October 16 through April 24, 2011. The Reef is the perfect intersection of advanced mathematics, environmental science, biology, and fiber art. Learn more about the project here.

The mathematical concept of hyperbolic space is best shown in crochet. Who knew! The majority of the pieces donated to the reef are indeed crocheted, but other techniques were also accepted.

This is a classic example, by Debra Lee. The colors represent a "bleached" reef -- where the corals are dying due to increased seawater temperature. (The Smithsonian reef will have three parts: healthy, bleached, and toxic--lots of plastics incorporated.)

Marla Rudnick knits in silver wire. Here's a close-up of one of her creations:

Elida de Souza Moore made a variety of fascinating coral reef shapes.

Eileen Doughty stitched layers of netting and organza, to closely resemble a fragile Glass Sponge.

She also used a sewing machine stitching technique to make vase sponges, entirely out of thread.

The Smithsonian's reef is truly a community project, with hundreds of crafters within a few hundred miles of DC participating. Debra Lee organized seventeen people in her own neighborhood to make nearly 200 pieces! Here's a picture of them all, before being delivered to the Museum. Awesome!

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef will be a don't-miss event, starting October 16.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Featured Artist: Fran Spaeder

The third gallery member earning a juror's recognition for our current show, "The Child Within", is Fran Spaeder. She made a collection of colorful bags for children. Not only is the fabric colorful, the outside of each bag has built-in pockets just the right size for those all-important crayons!

"Among my favorite childhood memories," Fran says, "was getting a new box of crayons with those perfectly shaped points and a new coloring book. I loved the time spent coloring as a child and then with my 2 sons and now with my 3.5 grandsons. So my patchwork bags hold not just crayons but many fond memories. "

Fran definitely loves color, and her playful personality shines through in everything she creates. Here's a quilt from one of our shows earlier this year. Makes me want to go color!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Featured Artist: Zita Simutis

One of the pieces earning a juror's recognition for our current show, "The Child Within", is "Pooh's Honey Pot" by Zita Simutis.  Have you read "Winnie the Pooh" stories to a child, or remember having one read to you?

Here's what Zita has to say about her inspiration for making this "sweet" felted vessel:

"While on vacation this summer I found some really beautiful hand-spun, hand-dyed locks at my favorite knitting store in Lewes, Delaware (Ginger Moon).  I couldn’t resist buying some for my stash.  I am a wet felter and love to make three-dimensional objects out of sheeps’ wool, hot water, and soap.  Making felt is like making magic.  While thinking about this month’s theme in my brand new studio I saw my natural brown sheeps’ wool in a cubby and nearby, the hand spun locks and was inspired to make a huge vessel with the locks wound around the vessel.  It was a lot more work than I anticipated – those locks just did not want to felt into the wool! Persistence and extra soap paid off, and Pooh’s Honey Pot was born.  I loved reading Pooh stories to my son when he was little, and making the Honey Pot brought back many happy memories.  I was honored to have it selected by my co-juror as a work to be highlighted in this show. "

You can see another view of the Honey Pot on our Sept 20 post.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Featured artist: Cindy Grisdela

Many of our members lecture or teach workshops related to their fiber art expertise. Cindy Grisdela gave a presentation to the Vienna, Virginia chapter of Quilters Unlimited recently. She shared insights into how she become an art quilter, and how the special look of her quilts evolved.

Cindy (standing on the right in the image below; gallery member Betty Ladd is the assistant in the center) has always loved color. Her first quilts were inspired by traditional quilt block patterns, and tended toward monochromatic color choices. She said that some of her very early quilts were given to "unsuspecting babies." Lucky babies!

She soon started to explore more dynamic color combinations, and a more contemporary style, but continues to love saturated colors. She claims to be a "recovering perfectionist" when it comes to composing and stitching the quilt blocks.

Here are three quilts using similar block styles, but very different color choices. Which do you like best?

Not all of Cindy's quilts use prints (patterned fabric). She also enjoys the challenge of using all solid fabrics. This is a highly improvisational quilt.

Here's a close-up of a quilt with solid fabrics (you really need to click on the image for a closer view). Cindy is truly a master of machine quilting! All of the stitching is done free-hand, using a domestic (non-fancy) sewing machine. She prefers variegated threads for quilting. Isn't this gorgeous?!

One of Cindy's quilts is currently hanging in our gallery, shown in the top image of our Sept 20 post. Can you pick out which wall hanging is hers?

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Featured artist: Elida de Souza Moore

The jurors for each of our shows may choose to award recognition for outstanding theme pieces.  For "The Child Within", Elida de Souza Moore was recognized for the entire body of work she submitted.  Elida is known for her art dolls, in addition to her other fiber media such as jewelry.

Elida says, "I am very pleased to be part of the show 'The Child Within.' I had the opportunity to bring back precious memories of my early age. And I am very excited that some of my pieces were recognized. I tried to recreate them as close as possible to the way I used to do when I was a kid: very modest, ordinary fabric, basic colors and unsophisticated techniques. I also tried to recreate the moments I had with my neighbor friends at the end of the day, playing “Ring-a-ring-a-roses.”

"Simone," "Xandoca," and  “Ring-a-ring-a-roses” are shown below.

We'll feature the other two juror recognition awards in future posts.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Welcome to our Fiber Arts Blog!

Welcome to the new blog for the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery! We are looking forward to sharing our love of fiber art with you.

We are a co-operative gallery whose members all create fiber art. Every major technique is represented (weaving, knitting, quilting, silk painting, felting,...) and many others you may never have heard of (kumihimo knotting, laminated felting, shibori, thread painting, metal fiber knitting,...). Our work includes wearable art, wall hangings and framed art, jewelry, table linens, book arts and cards, decorative items, and more. We will be highlighting these techniques and our artists on blog posts to come.

Each year we have 11 themed shows. Every single item is juried in at the beginning of the show, and all unsold items removed at the end. In addition to ensuring the high quality of our displayed work, this keeps a fresh look in our space, and encourages repeat visits.

Here are a few snapshots of the current show, "The Child Within." It is a fitting theme for this first blog post, as we love to play with our fiber media, but playing is our business – as any child can tell you, playing is also hard work!

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