Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
I received my copy of Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts today – wow! I am so excited to sit down and dig into it! I particularly love what Diane Sandlin says in the foreword of the catalog, that the catalog’s purpose is to showcase the breadth and depth of the Surface Design Association’s many members’ work. The juror of the catalog, Namita Gupta Wiggers, poses an overarching question that is considered in this highly selective catalog exhibit, “What do textiles/fibers and their associated processes offer artists that cannot be achieved in other media?” This showcase will give the viewer a glimpse into the wonderful world of fiber art in the 21st century.
To get a sense of the size of the membership of SDA, the response for the call to submit work to be considered for the catalog netted over 2,300 images that were reviewed. 506 artists submitted work, 91 are included in the catalog, and 69 of those were selected for a gallery exhibit, Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts, in the Blain Gallery at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. I can’t even imagine the difficulty Wiggers had in making her selections. I’ve been in the fiber world for several decades now, and know a little about the scope of work that’s out there today. SDA is an international organization, and though the bulk of the catalog features US artists, you can see the international influences and connections in many artists’ work, embracing fiber processes, techniques and aesthetics from other cultures and textile traditions.
From the catalog, this excerpt describes and explains Ann Morton’s Best In Show submission, Ground Cover: Social Project 600+ makers.
It is through Ann Morton’s Ground Cover, however, that surface, material, and community come together and exemplify the social engagement focus of this year’s conference, Made/Aware. A simple concept, Morton connects a community of makers with a need in her community – blankets for the homeless in Phoenix. Breaking her image into parts, each grid element constitutes a single blanket, and the cartouche maps collective versus individual construction of a completed textile. The aerial photograph of the installed project best communicates how Morton turns the city into surface. Seen from above, the brightly colored floral composition contrasts strongly against the gray grid of the urban environment. Cityscape becomes a surface. At the street level, the work fragments into individual blankets, distributed to people in need – shifting bodies into surface as much as the blankets themselves.
This blog post is only a tiny piece, a fragment of story that is exhibited in this catalog. Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts is relevant, current, and brings us into this glorious world of fiber art and I encourage you to order a copy of your own. I am honored and humbled to travel through this world of fibers and textile artists. Having had fibers between my fingers from an early age, looking through this outstanding collection of textile art inspires me to put the book down, and pick up the fiber that’s just in the other room.