Focus on fiber | Desert exposure
The Southwest Women’s Fiber Arts Collective is proud to announce their upcoming show titled “Focus on Fiber: Pursuing Creativity in the Pandemic”. Local fiber artists have been busy this year creating exciting new works that will be on display until May 31 at 200 W. Market Street in Silver City.
More than a dozen fiber artists will see their new work available for viewing, some pieces being available for purchase on the Collective’s website. Fiber artists will be
demonstration of their individual craftsmanship on each of the two weekends of the show, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This is a great opportunity to see a variety of fiber art techniques.
On Saturday, May 29, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Kathy Cole and Vicki Gadberry will be doing a quilting demonstration. Then from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Blythe Whiteley will demonstrate silk painting and Mary Ragins will weave on a tabletop loom.
On Sunday, May 30, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Jean Hill will weave on the tabletop loom while Susan Porter will put the finishing touches on the hand-woven. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Pam Gibson will weave on the tabletop loom and Suzi Calhoun will demonstrate spinning. The public is invited to come and meet the fiber artists and learn more about the creation of fiber art.
As a youngster, Kathy Cole got into the art, but majored in philosophy in college and also earned a master’s degree in this field. Later, a growing interest in economics and the environment led to a graduate degree in this field. Moving to New York City, Cole pursued a career with a natural gas company, but spent weekends in art museums, art galleries, and attended music and dance performances. Along the way, she saw an exhibit of traditional quilts at a folk art museum and later, a contemporary quilts exhibit at a craft museum. Cole was inspired by the range of possibilities of this art / craft form.
Since retiring from the corporate world in 1999 and moving to Silver City, New Mexico, Cole’s interests have focused on quilting and the organizations that support quilting, the fiber arts, and the community. . Her work ranges from practical – based on the precise craftsmanship and geometric art of traditional quilting – to the more purely artistic – inspired by nature or places or ideas and using a variety of techniques.
Taught sewing from an early age, Vicki Gadberry has always been in love with fabric. She made clothes, produced hand-woven items, and experimented with fiber and yarn dyeing techniques. Handcrafting and sewing on small pieces of fiber art is her favorite activity, creating one-of-a-kind fiber art cards and mini quilts. She is a founding member of SWFAC and sits on its board of directors. Her work can be found at the Dragonfly Studio in downtown Silver City.
Blythe Whiteley has been painting silk for over 20 years, using a variety of techniques and types of silk. She will demonstrate the gutta silk painting method, quick color mixing (using the basics of red, yellow, blue and black to achieve any desired color) and some textural tricks.
Mary Ragins has been creating with fiber as a weaver for ten years. Sewing with her hand-woven fabric and crafting unique functional items is one of her favorite ways to add an extra layer of joy to removing the fabric from her loom. Mary is a board member of the Southwest Women’s Fiber Arts Collective and has taught rigid healer weaving at Wild West Weaving in Silver City.
Jean Hill started crocheting as a child with the help of her grandmother. She learned knitting from women at a Denver yarn store in college. In high school, she sewed her own clothes with the help of her mother. Jean “tried” other fiber techniques through a local guild and took his first weaving course in 1999 with WNMU. Since then, she has mainly woven, with the addition of learning to dye yarn and fabric in courses given by a local guild and SWFAC.
She has been enrolled at WNMU in self-guided weaving studies for six semesters, although due to COVID she has continued her studies at home since March 2020, using her two floor looms and a nice stash of son. Jean belongs to an informal study group of weavers in Silver City, which provides inspiration and sometimes group projects on particular weaving structures or color theory. She has enjoyed taking online “weaving along” courses on color exploration, passing and currently “stealing hideouts” as face-to-face classes are rare.
Jean joined SWFAC in 2005 when he was just getting started, and volunteered at The Common Thread Gallery on Broadway. galleries since the SWFAC retail store closed in 2016. Jean is currently SWFAC Treasurer.
After graduating from college, Susan H. Porter studied photography and design at Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC, but fiber has always been her first love. She is passionate about color and often dyes my threads. The result is a unique blend of colors that cannot be repeated, making her hand-dyed pieces one of a kind. She especially likes that fiber allows us to create functional art: beauty that can be used and worn as well as admired.
In 1986, while teaching at Norman Elementary School, OK, Pam Gibson went to OKC and bought her first loom … shoved it into her Ford Fiesta and went home . She had never woven a single day in her life, but her father, a retired army colonel, had started weaving and she decided that if she was going to have a bond with him, she needed to weave. 35 years later, and many people, places and events in between, she still weaves … loving putting woven panels together into a garment someone can wear.
Suzi Calhoun has been fascinated by fiber ever since she opened her yarn store, Yada Yada Yarn in 2005. Thanks to Silver City’s generous fiber community, she has learned to knit, crochet, weave, dye, spinning and now sewing and quilting. Spinning is the common denominator of all fibers … spinning the single yarn that begins a piece is a mediating process that reminds us of how it all happened. Stop and watch how a yarn is made ….. demos with silk and wool.
Artists whose work will be exhibited include: Mary Ragins, Jean Hill, Susan Porter, Charmeine Wait, Pat Bouchard, Vicki Gadberry, Suzi Calhoun, Blythe Whiteley, Donna Foley, Kathy Cole, Hosana Eilert, Cookie Murraye, Shannon Wilson, Liza Kuecker , Sharon Brown and Lynnae McConaha.
The exhibition would not have been possible without the community-minded owners
building, Marsha Sue Lustig and John Eder who generously donated the space. Lustig and Eder reached out to Silver City MainStreet to see how the space could be used. A pop-up gallery space was suggested and now the old retail space is being used for the benefit of the community.
Due to COVID-19 there will be no face-to-face contact, however, this is a wonderful opportunity to see firsthand the creativity that still thrives in Silver City and to support our local fiber artists. The exhibition can be seen through the large windows.
SWFAC was founded in 2005 and is a local, non-profit, 501 (c) (3), all-volunteer organization whose aim is to stimulate and support a thriving cottage industry in the South West. To do this, SWFAC members nurture and empower each other. Beginning and experienced artists of SWFAC enrich the community by fostering opportunities to gain new experiences and expand talents as well as earn income from their art. Please visit the SWFAC website at www.fiberartscollective.org to learn more about the organization and this exhibition.