Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Kennedy-Zafred’

I visited the opening of Fiberart International 2016 and the all-day Fiberart Forum in Pittsburgh. The Forum is an all day, intensive walk through of the show, with artists speaking about their pieces, anchored by a key note speaker.

This is an exhibition of contemporary fiber art, shown both at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Society for Contemporary Craft, from May 6 – August 21, 2016.

Full disclosure: this tri-annual show was the single most important inspiration for me to become a fiber artist. I visited the show in 2004 and 2007 in wordless wonder. I longed to be able to create like these artists did, but this dream seemed far out of reach compared to the reality of my life at the time.

Then, after a moment of profound enlightenment, I changed my life and began a now 10-year quest to become a fiber artist.

By 2009 that road had taken me to membership in the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, the wonderful organization that organizes this show every three years. So returning to “the Burgh” meant reuniting with my dear friends in the FGP as well.

The keynote speaker this year was juror Tali Weinberg, Executive Director of the Textile Society of America, and her topic was “Engaging Injustice Through Textiles.” She caught my attention by making the observation that textiles are interwoven with the history of injustice.  Think: enslaved labor picking cotton. Think: labor exploitation in textile plants.  Consider Ghandi’s movement to create hand woven products in India to counter British dumping of cheap manufactured cotton goods.

Her words echoed in my mind viewing the Best in Show: “THIS Revolution Will Not Be Televised: #13 Protest Series,” by Penny Mateer in collaboration with Martha Wasik. It is a giant (94” x 77”) quilt of the images of 80 unarmed persons of color who have been shot by the police since 1999. The border lists their names, ages, where they were from, and the date of their deaths.

Some other pieces that particularly intrigued me were “Snellandschap Luchtweg (Fast Landscape Airway) by Pauline MM Nijenhuis from the Netherlands. It is a canvas painted then hand stitched, and a statement on time – the fast and slow of it.

Susan Kathleen Doyle’s “Columbia” is a two-piece dress made from an encyclopedia her husband discarded. The muted colors and workmanship mesmerized me, plus I’ve a special interest in the use of old paper.

Margery Amdur’s “Amass #6” transforms cut cosmetic sponges with ink, gouache, pastel pigment into a lush landscape that you want to visually dive into and not leave.

“Mending, Roe v Wade,” is a small but powerful piece by Lori Zimmerman that gives visual, visceral representation to the erosion of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.

Patricia Kennedy-Zafred has now made five “Tagged” pieces.  Each one, for me, has had special, personal meaning (my childhood best friend’s father was one of the 120,000 persons of Japanese heritage forced into internment camps under FDR’s Executive Order 9066).  This one, Patty says, is the best. She has learned more about the people pictured, and been able to add more information to the tags.

Finally, Emily Jan of Canada delighted me with her flying wolf adorned with peacock feathers. “Ragnarök” refers to the Norse Twilight of the Gods. A mysterious and beautiful world indeed.

I made my first visit to Quilt National, the “Academy Awards” for Studio Quilt Artists.

Quilt National was started by Nancy Crow and others because art quilts were not being accepted into traditional quilting shows. It premiered in 1979.

First Art Quilts rocked the world of traditional quilts, then artists continues to innovate and expand the definition of “a quilt.”

Quilt National’s definition is more conservative that SAQA’s (Studio Art Quilt Associates).

Here are both of them:

Quilt National: It must be predominantly fabric or fabric-like material and must be composed of at least two full and distinct layers — a face layer and a backing layer — that are held together by hand- or machine-made functional quilting stitches or other elements that pierce all layers and are distributed throughout the surface of the work.

SAQA defines an art quilt as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.”

While staying within the narrower QN definition, some of the innovation was toward more 3 dimensional work. For example Diane Nύñez cleverly used fabric strips, altered and quilted, strung on aluminum tubing like abacus beads. It isn’t on her website yet, but there is a similar one.

Ever innovative, Betty Busby formed her quilt into the shape of a Chinese ginger jar for a full sculpture.

Betty’s isn’t on her website yet either,  but here are some other of her vessels  While you’re there, check out her whole website.  It, and she, are bursting with life, color and energy.

Both piecing and applique continue to be popular. I don’t know if there is MORE hand stitching this year, but what there was really popped out for me. Helen Geglio’s “Femoral Fracture: A Fall” was a piece she stitched by hand as she sat with her mom for hours after a fall and hip fracture.

Here is a detail I took (sorry Helen if this isn’t legal, but I couldn’t help myself . . .)

Helen Geglio detail crop

Another piece that blew me away was Diedre Adams’ “disruption.” Here is her list of materials: Commercial cottons, acrylic paint, paper from various sources: dictionaries, text books, maps, sheet music,novels, and other found materials.  Machine stitched, hand painted, layered papers peeled and torn.

I have been using papers too, and was so happy to meet and speak to Diedre. This piece is somewhat similar, and on her website.

And this was a detail I took of “disruption,” again with my apologies, Diedre. Diedre Adams detail

As a political statement, I thought Kristin La Flamme’s “‘Murica” was very powerful. She says, “Part of my Security Blanket series, this flag expresses America’s obsession with guns as a (false) sense of safety and comfort.”

And, thank you Kristin — the picture IS on her website.

Judy Kirpich’s “Conflict No. 6/ Mugging” was inspired by a personal tragedy. Darn, I can’t find a website for her. The quilt is big (77 x 60”), and black, white and grey with red bars about two thirds of the way down, referencing how her daughter was cut in a mugging. She pieces everything — which I have never learned to do well!

Finally I want to mention Patricia Kennedy-Zafred’s “Tagged.” It has personal meaning for me as my best childhood friend is Japanese-American, and her family experienced this black mark on American history first hand.

Here is the image, on her website.

A number of pieces are a little smaller this year.  I guess collectors’ wall spaces are filling up with this wonderful art.  I was glad to see a more manageable scale represented, as I find it hard to work really big.

Here is Quilt National’s website:  The show is a biennial, so the next one will be in 2017. This time I am going to submit!