KtB and Allegheny County Council

County Council PresidentKnit the Bridge was in the Post Gazette once again — but we’re not so happy this time.  Diana Nelson Jones reported on the vote before Allegheny County Council to remove the never enacted 2% set-aside for public art. In the article, Amie Downs, official spokesperson for County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, cited KtB as an example of why the set-aside was unnecessary with an ambiguous description of the type of support the county provided to the project. “We have focused our time and efforts on cataloging and maintaining existing public art, while encouraging and supporting public art in the community. The Knit the Bridge installation is just one such example.”

FGP President Susan Swarthout contacted the KtB team concerned that using it as an example sent the wrong message to the arts community and the entire region. The KtB team agreed and on Tuesday November 17, Knit the Bridge lead artist and co-director, Amanda Gross, co-director Penny Mateer and current and former Presidents of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh Susan Swarthout and Sherri Roberts all provided comment at the County Council’s bimonthly November meeting.  FGP recommended that County Council vote no to the elimination of the 2% set aside and yes to the creation of the arts board.More Information

Sherri Roberts shares her blogpost on Creativity and Productivity

sherri 5 uke_pin-martha-cleanAfter a crazy few weeks I needed a jump start back into the blog scene. Flipping through images on Facebook I caught a glimpse of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and her words echoed “there’s no place like home.” So I turned to our guild for some help. Did you know that some of our members are not just amazing artists and makers but writers as well?  Well Sherri Roberts is one of them and with just one click I was immersed in her blog Galil Threadworks and got just what I needed. We asked Sherri if we could share this gem of a post and she graciously agreed, just in case you need to get your groove on.

 

Do Something!  by Sherri Roberts

After recently tweaking the “elevator-speech” description of my artwork, I was able to identify the latest bug in my brain; how to keep creativity and its fraternal twin, productivity, flowing. 
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Oh Those Last Minute Entries — it must be Fiberart International Time

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Penny Mateer’s FI-friendly design wall. Smaller than 8’6″, no problem.

The deadline for FI2016 is fast approaching.  Are you like me, do you wait until the last minute to enter? I know the deadline months in advance so I must be ready to upload today, right? Not exactly. What is this last minute business all about?

To choose the work, gotta look at the restrictions — and thankfully there aren’t many. The size limit is 8’6″.  I have that problem licked from the git-go, my design wall is only 7′ tall and 6′ wide when fully extended. “Can’t weigh more than 100 pounds and has to be easily handled by 2 people.” Last I checked I couldn’t find an assistant to help make that cumbersome piece, the help I keep longing for. You know that humble acolyte, the one you always see bustling around the huge, light-filled studios of major artists, effortlessly juggling huge elements, or better yet just listening intently as “the artist” brilliantly discusses the work, that person?  Not happening here. Definitely less than 100 pounds for this gal.More Information

Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor at SCC

Meet the artist and share her vision

At a recent guild-sponsored lecture at Contemporary Craft, featured Bridge 13 artist Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor talked about the evolution of her style and body of work. Guild secretary Wanda Spangler-Warren took her usual meticulous notes and lent them to us for this post. Thanks, Wanda!

The huge, grotesquely charming, animal-ish forms lumbering around SCC’s gallery owe their existence to a series of happy accidents involving drywall screws, the Iraq war, and a truckload of discarded cushions. Which is just another way of saying O’Connor never met a random input she couldn’t use.

Detail: Wanna do right...but not right now

Detail: Wanna do right…but not right now

As a resident artist in Kohler’s Arts/industry Program, O’Connor learned the slip casting method of making vitreous china, a technique she would later intentionally corrupt by using found objects, creating animal hybrids with ceramic heads and fabric bodies. Perhaps more importantly, Kohler made available to her a huge inventory of hardware – screws, wires, and grommets – which she used to assemble her figures in obvious and deliberate ways.More Information

Hosting the Artist Panel at Quilt National ’15

Getting accepted into Quilt National 2015 is an accomplishment many of us would envy. But FGP member Patty Kennedy-Zafred didn’t stop there. At the request of SAQA, the Studio Art Quilt Association, she jumped into the proceedings and hosted a panel of participating artists. We asked her to tell all and she graciously obliged…

By Patty Kennedy-Zafred

Lightening struck again, and the jury gods nodded in my favor. Dusting off the disappointment of two recent rejections, I was exhilarated by a fun filled weekend of art and activity at The Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio.

The Opening Reception was packed; a record number of 64 exhibiting artists from all over the world, along with many guests. But for me, the most exciting event came the next day when I hosted a panel of four exhibiting artists. SAQA had requested that the Artist Panel not repeat recent SAQA speakers, but other than that, I had free rein. Talk about a tough choice!

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Tina Williams Brewer

Inaugural Exhibition at the State Museum in Harrisburg

Tina Williams-Brewer, Governor Wolf, Laura Domencic

One of the great things about being a member of FGP is the opportunity to meet, know and learn from accomplished fiber artists.  Tina Williams Brewer, Master Visual Artist, is one of the most distinguished in our region.  I had a chance to chat with Tina recently about her inclusion in the special Inaugural Exhibition at the State Museum, Harrisburg, Pa  January 20, – February 15, 2015.

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PRINT FUN WORKSHOP

Over the past couple of years our programs committee has run this popular printing workshop several times, and it nearly always sells out. More and more fiber artists, may of whom already dye their own fabrics, are intrigued by the opportunity to control and create another element that goes into their work. In fact, guild member and award-winning quilter Patty Kennedy-Zafred has noted that quilters she meets around the country are so envious of the printing resource we have in AIR, right here in Pittsburgh. We asked Petra Fallaux, another amazing quilter, to take us along as she experiences the workshop for the first time…

By Petra Fallaux

AIR -3 at 9.12.20 AMRecently a handful of FGP members got together for a guild-sponsored “silkscreen on fabric and cloth” workshop at Artist Image Resources (AIR) on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

Workshop leader Jennifer Rockage introduced us to the various steps in preparing a photo emulsion silkscreen from a drawing or photo. All of our screens were prepared in advance, so we were quickly off to making our own prints, one after another. Through multiple iterations, we figured out how much ink and pressure would make a perfect image from our screens.More Information

Hanging out at Touchstone Center for Crafts

JanSpring has finally sprung which means time to hit the road! Destination?  Touchstone Center for Crafts to drop off my quilt and lend a hand. Okay maybe it wasn’t so spring-like… actually it was more of a late-fall feel but it was my first visit to Touchstone, what a beautiful facility!More Information

Are you brave enough to self-curate?

Hey kids, let’s put on a show!  Camilla blog -4

Following Staci Offutt’s thoughtful review of Time and Materiality, we got to thinking about the process of self-curating an exhibition, especially when collaborating with fellow artists who happen to be friends. Would that be fun and exhilarating, an opportunity to see your work and theirs in a sharper light… or maybe not so much? As deadline stress set in, could fighting and biting break out? (OK so probably not in our guild, but one does hear stories.) Before our imaginations reached soap opera pitch, we asked Camilla Pearce to take us behind the scenes and unscrew the whole process. Here’s how Camilla tells it…

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Time and Materiality, a feast of textures and techniques

Laura Tabakman Trametes Polymer clay and paper bags Michelle Browne The Three Sisters/Dray Shvester Rusted, printed, stitched cotton blends, vintage lace, pillows

By Staci Offutt

Time and Materiality is a symbiotic collection of works by Michelle Browne, Camilla Brent Pearce, and Laura Tabakman. With 33 pieces, including a large-scale installation, these three artists have transformed the Spinning Plate Gallery in the East liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh into a feast of textures and techniques, fabric and ephemera.  

Photo right: Tabakman, Trametes, Polymer clay and paper bags; Browne, The Three Sisters/Dray Shvester Rusted, printed, stitched cotton blends, vintage lace, pillows

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