For the second year, the Matthews Art Gallery presents an exhibit into the beauty, art, and skill of modern fiber artists.
For years, fiber art has been considered a craft of the homemaker. Not anymore. This Fiber art show presents an exhibit into the beauty, art, and skill of modern fiber artists. The exhibit titled “The New World of Fiber 2” will present the work of 10 Black Hills fiber artists and will change your perspective on what constitutes art. From wearable artwork to exquisite tapestry, the exhibit will display a wide range of fiber art.
“The New World of Fiber 2” Fiber art show will run Nov.6-28. The opening reception takes place 5:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6 in the Matthews Art Gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public during gallery hours, Tues. through Sat., 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Note: Winter Art Gallery hours go into effect Nov. 1. Gallery hours will be Tues. – Sat., 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm.
“Fiber art has an incredible range of materials and specialties,” says Samantha Thompson, Gallery Coordinator. “Fiber art can be anything from weaving and basket making to shawls and dolls. Our featured artists for this event have just as much variety in their styles. It’s amazing to see what artists can do with such a unique art form.”
Roni Coates has enjoyed working with fabrics and yarns since grammar school. By the time she reached high school, she was sewing her own clothes. With limited funds during the following years, Roni sewed for their family and home. This effort was at first challenging, then rewarding.
Roni attended the University of Illinois in the 1960s. Her interests diverged and photography courses took up her spare time. For a long time, she had a dark room in the basement of her house. Coates still loves taking pictures. She firmly believes that digital cameras can make everyone a great photographer.
It was a chance encounter with a woman who owned a knitting machine that brought Roni back to yarns and knitting. She was living in San Diego then and soon got involved with a large and active group of machine knitters. Then, after years of making sweaters and baby clothes, she began looking for a new interest. In fact, Roni was considering quilting. It was during a trip to a quilting store, that she noticed a flyer announcing a class on making fabric baskets. The idea intrigued her, plus she had years of leftover fabrics!
“Although I enjoyed a decades-long academic career,” says Roni, “It is working with my hands that bring me the greatest pleasure.”
Mary has always collected dolls that were hand made from many cultures. As a child, she made clothes for her Barbie dolls. They were always wild, but she loved making them.
She thought dolls would be a great way to display hand-spun yarn. She started collecting yarn when she learned about a type of sheep that was becoming extinct. They were raised for their fiber, not for their meat. She thought she would buy some yarn and help the cause. Mary soon became obsessed by all the different yarns that were hand-spun. She could not get enough of the smell, feel, and look. They were like magic. There are so many creative spinners with different techniques. Every time she went online, she would come across a yarn that she could not live without. Mary had so much yarn and nothing to do with it.
At that time she did not knit, crochet, or weave. Dolls were the only thing she could think of. Her first dolls looked like cavemen. They have evolved over the years. She has since learned the art of spinning and every step from cleaning to dyeing fiber. She does not know what happened to the sheep she thought she would help save. Mary hopes they are still producing beautiful fiber. She is so glad that she bought her first skein of hand-spun yarn. It opened up an entire world she never knew existed.
She hopes whoever acquires one of her dolls will enjoy them as much as she has enjoyed making them. Each doll reminds her of someone she has known throughout her life or of someone she would love to be. She hopes they will brighten your day.
Martha Larson learned to sew by making clothes for her dolls with the neighbor girls. Their mothers sewed, so it was a natural thing to do on the plains in southeastern Montana.
Martha was a quilter and learned that she was adept at creating her own designs. When she bought a serge wrap-around skirt in Portland 8 years ago, she learned how to use a serger. Since then, she improved her skills. Now she enjoys creating Katwise-inspired garments that she calls, “pixy coats.” Martha’s pixy coats are made from upcycled material of 100 percent cotton or wool.
On her first wedding anniversary, Mary LaHood received a cone of cotton yarn from her husband. Five days later, on Christmas morning, he surprised her with her first loom. It had traveled by ship with a young woman emigrating from Norway some eighty years earlier. The past and present continue to intertwine in Mary’s work. She melds traditional weave structures with her one-of-a-kind colorscapes.
Mary draws her inspiration from the Black Hills with its rich, vibrant hues. Examples are wood lily, yellow lady slipper, and larkspur and the soft muted tones of pasque in the spring and aspen in the autumn. She hand-dyes and hand-weaves unique wearable art pieces in fine, natural fibers of bamboo, Tencel, and silk.
Mary has enjoyed many interesting pastimes including fiction writing and rock climbing. She is a master gardener and has a private pilot’s license. Yet her greatest source of pride is her four children. Mary, along with her husband, with whom she operates a construction company, live in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The southwestern corner of North Dakota’s primary landscape has few trees and dryland wheat farms. Growing up, Sylvia’s childhood dream was of green trees and running river waters. A trip to the Black Hills was like going to paradise. The Ponderosa Pines with year round green were a sight to behold.
Sylvia moved to Hot Springs, SD in 2002. Her dream came true with pine trees in her front yard and a river running through her back yard. At the Hot Springs annual “Christmas in the Hills” festival, she discovered the artwork of pine needle baskets. She fell in love with them. Sylvia took classes from a local artist. She did an apprenticeship until she was ready to discover her own creativity.
Sylvia continues to study the work of pine needle basket makers–past and present. Her studies include the people of Native America centuries ago, to Africa, and other indigenous people. The addition of modern pine needle basket makers stimulates her creativity.
Stitching variations are often all that is needed to bring out the beauty of a basket. Sometimes the character of local animals or plants, as well as natural stone, beads, and dyes are added for ornamentation. It seems the pine needles come alive to dictate their own beauty as she works with them.
Jean Selvy-Wyss loves texture and color. She is a gatherer and a fiber artist.
Jean is a trained tapestry artist and loves to weave. The texture and color, the building up, the techniques themselves are wonderful and challenging. Being the nature of the beast, tapestry is a time-consuming art form. Because of that, I like to “play” with other elements. These elements are usually fiber/texture based. To add to the tapestry, she incorporates discarded and forgotten elements. Jean gives these old elements a new life.
Selvy-Wyss likes the word “potential.” To her it means a new view, a path changer, and a wandering direction. She works in series, creating in a tapestry as well as the mixed media collage. Several of these series are about women and their paths. The “South Dakota Cowgirl” series is about women’s tenacity and strength. The “Angels” series is about belief in your dreams and faith in the future, discovering your own spiritual path. At the moment, she is working on a series of “wings.”
Claudia loves the fact that animal fiber is a renewable resource and receives inspiration from traditional designs and processes, thus her business name, Once Again. She uses South Dakota and USA sourced fibers when possible.
“I first explored fiber as a teenager through sewing garments,” says Claudia. “For the last seven years, I’ve added weaving, felting, dyeing and spinning.”
She loves that the processes have not changed much in thousands of years. From the Himalayas to the Andes, to Paris runways to South Dakota, fiber affects our daily lives.
Weaving is the magical process of turning ordinary threads into functional and artistic textiles. Finished pieces exemplify the fact that the uniquely beautiful is created from simple beginnings.
Terry weaves textiles that combine traditional and contemporary old-world Scandinavian techniques. In particular, the use of color combinations and fiber selections. The fabrics are all hand woven on a manual loom. Some are hand sewn to varieties of fleece resulting in stunning display pieces. These are designed to inspire conversation and provide years of pleasure for the senses. Pieces project an air of western, native, alpine, and rustic lodge.
By tradition, woven fleece-mounted blankets were made of home crafted yarns mounted on field sheep pelts. Terry takes the customary weave structures, patterns, and fibers to new artistic levels. She mixes a wide variety of yarns with exotic fleece. This results in three-dimensional works bursting with color and texture.
The array of hand-spun and commercial prepared fibers include not only sheep but bison, alpaca, llama, linen, and cotton. These additions provide a richer palette of color, texture, and culture. Her one-of-a-kind textiles are of only the finest materials. Those include the breathtaking sheep and goat fleeces from around the globe.
Terry honed her skills on Swedish style looms over the past 25 years, while living in Colorado and South Dakota. Besides self-directed study, she attended many classes and seminars throughout the US. In December 2012, she completed a seven-month apprenticeship at Vävstuga, a Swedish weaving school in western Massachusetts.
Terry hopes to display an alternative medium that allows others to share the beauty of these tactile creations. She hopes to inspire them to keep these time-honored patterns and techniques alive for centuries to come.
Mae B. Gill
Mae B. Gill was born in Michigan but grew up between there and Florida. She came to Spearfish in 1998 and fell in love with the Black Hills. She has been drawing and creating art for as long as she can remember.
Gill is a 5th-grade special education teacher in the Belle Fourche school district. She loves nature, wood, creating and re-creating, being inspired, and inspiring others. Mae uses wood in some of her art because wood speaks to her of the past, present, and future. She sees it as a symbol of life and rebirth. The phrase,“A Slice of Life,” applies for much of her wood assemblages. It reminds Gill to stay cognizant of the fragility and splendor of life and what earth has to offer. She also inserts mirrors to connect the viewer to the art and to remind us to be reflective.
“I love finding things and using them in unique and different ways,” remarks Gill. “One artist’s work that I admire is that of Louise Nevelson. I love how she takes ordinary items, scraps, and discarded things, and repurposes them into wonderful art. I am excited to be able to display some of my art at The Matthews Art Gallery and at various venues around town. I hope you enjoy my labor of love.”
Mae enjoys photography, painting, fabric art, writing stories and poetry, and working with children. She also makes custom orders, your materials or her own.
Lynette Van Epps-Smith
Bio to come
Thank you to the sponsors that help us bring art shows, plays, concerts, and other live entertainment acts to The Matthews. We couldn’t do it without you.
KEVN Black Hills Fox, Modern Woodmen, South Dakota Arts Council, Great Western Bank, Killian’s Tavern, Black Hills Pioneer, Bay Leaf Cafe, Clark Printing, City of Spearfish, Century 21, Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc., Lucky’s 13 Pub, Spearfish Holiday Inn, Zonta Club of Spearfish, Optimist Club of Spearfish, The Matthews’ family, The Kelley family — CLICK HERE to visit these sponsors’ business websites.
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