Fabric Of A Nation: Quilting Is Finally Being Recognized As Fine Art
A new Museum of Fine Arts, Boston exhibition, “Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories” features over 300 years of American quilts, and other visual and tactile artworks. It especially focuses on works by an underrecognized diversity of artistic hands and minds from the 17th century to today.
How Craft Became an Art Market Force
The dividing line between fine art and craft has been unraveling for decades. Once closely guarded by art historians, curators, and critics—who, as the scholar Terry Smith once put it, typically dismissed craft as “intimately associated with the hand, touch,” while associating art with headier pursuits like “ideas, suggestions, concepts”—the boundaries separating painting, ceramics, weaving, drawing, glassblowing, printmaking, and other processes and practices are now porous if not completely antiquated.
Aerial Net Sculptures Loom Over Public Squares in Janet Echelman’s ‘Earthtime’ Installations
Suspended in public squares and parks, the knotted sculptures that comprise Janet Echelman’s Earthtime series respond to the destructive, overpowering, and uncontrollable forces that impact life on the planet. The artist (previously) braids nylon and polyurethane fibers into striped weavings that loom over passersby and glow with embedded lights after nightfall. With a single gust of air, the amorphous masses billow and contort into new forms.
Camouflaged Self-Portraits Conceal Photographer Cecelia Paredes
Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes is the subject of her own richly patterned photographs, yet her figure is often difficult to locate at first. For each portrait she hangs boldly printed fabrics as the backdrop, which she then matches either with her painted skin, custom clothing, or both. Her torso, arms, and face fade into the background, as the curvature of her body and brown hair become some of the only indicators of her presence.
Simone Post combines hypnotic patterns with bubbles in wax-printed fabric
Not Your Grandmother’s Doilies: New Exhibition Explores the History of Lace
Across five locations in Antwerp, the ModeMuseum shows how the delicate, weblike fabric became a staple of art, craft, fashion, and commerce.
Woven Bamboo Installations by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV Sprout from Ceilings and Walls in Tangled Forms
Japanese artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV threads strips of bamboo together into monumental works that appear to grow from walls and ceilings. His hollow, circular creations utilize a style of rough weaving that his family has practiced for generations—Tanabe’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all worked with traditional craft techniques and shared the name Chikuunsai, which translates to “bamboo cloud”—and result in installations that are massive in scale as they coil across rooms, stretch dozens of feet into the air, and loop around support beams.
Circular Masses of Coral and Leaves Form Sculptural Embroideries by Meredith Woolnough
From swirls of eucalyptus leaves to perfectly round bodies of coral, the sculptural pieces by Newcastle-based artist Meredith Woolnough (previously) depict a range of textured, organic shapes. Each elaborately crafted work is drawn through free-motion embroidery, which involves using the most basic stitches on a sewing machine and moving a swath of water-soluble material around the needle. Once the form is complete, Woolnough dissolves the fabric base to expose the delicate, mesh-like structure.
Meet The Women Reinvigorating Nova Scotia’s Rug Hooking Tradition
A new generation of fibre artists is reclaiming the medium with a bold and cheeky approach.
Laura Sanchini, curator of craft, design and popular culture at the Canadian Museum of History, has traced the region’s nearly 100-year-long rug hooking history from local pastime to thriving cottage industry. “It’s tied to women’s history,” she explains, noting that most rug hookers in 1960s Chéticamp were women. At the time, rug hooking wasn’t taken seriously as an art form, a perception that also plagued other women-led mediums, including embroidery. When works from the area started gaining attention from Manhattan art lovers, prices—and esteem—quickly skyrocketed, with people making the trek to Cape Breton to get their hands on the coveted rugs.
Spirited Textiles Capture the Fervor of Recent Political Unrest
Tabitha Arnold’s rugs pay tribute to organizers who lay their bodies on the line in the workplace, in the public square, and in the depths of private prisons.
Colorful Raw Wool Is Twisted into Expressive Busts by Salman Khoshroo
Complementing his series of raw wool portraits, Iranian artist Salman Khoshroo shapes chunks of dyed fibers into expressive busts. The figurative sculptures capture an array of emotions and vary in abstraction, sometimes using aqua rovings for lips and eyelids and others remaining more faithful to a subject’s features. Whether an intimate self-portrait or mischievous character outfitted with jackal teeth, the pieces are evidence of Khoshroo’s perceptive, nuanced practice.