Project Highlight | Walking Libraries (2016-2019)

Project Highlight | Walking Libraries

Mackenzie Frere's Meditative Palette

Posted on: Thursday, July 29, 2010

 Mackenzie Frere's experiments with 'wavy reed' from Japan

Walnut hulls after a year of fermentation - image by Mackenzie Frere

Textile artist Mackenzie Frere definitely knows how to concoct the finest art + craft + poetry perfection. This Calgary-based weaver, knitter and educator blends his technical fiber expertise with a deep vat of meditative beauty. The results are not only entrancing but state-of-the-art in terms of exquisite textile language.

Silk warp in string heddles - image by Mackenzie Frere

I was so fortunate to have Mackenzie agree to exhibit his 'Breathing 3' piece in (Re)Fashioning Fiber. This intricate net of knit fiber was naturally-dyed with madder root as per the image below. Mackenzie truly understands the value of 'less is more' in terms of both process and palette. His work is ethereal but grounded in a familiarity with raw materials.

Study for Breathing 3 (in progress) - image by Mackenzie Frere

'Breathing 3' (detail) - image by Mackenzie Frere
Recollect (detail panels 1, 2 + 3) - image by Mackenzie Frere

You can learn more about Mackenzie's work and textile interests via his blog, ArtClothText. He also curates and edits the very informative Poplar Gallery Online.

New Textile Arts Center Opens in Brooklyn

Posted on: Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weaving sample in progress (courtesy of Isa Rodrigues)

I was thrilled to finally visit the new Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn earlier this week. What a gorgeous workspace and well-thought out community initiative. Classes are already being taught in fiber and textile related projects, and the center's upcoming Fall 2010 programming will now include sustainable fashion and illustration classes. (Stay tuned for information on my Winter/Spring 2011 (Re)fashioning Fiber workshops).
How happy I was to see these colorful spools of fiber perched in the Textile Arts Center's weaving studio and gallery. Throngs of enthusiastic summer campers had just vacated the space after a day of warp and weft instruction.
It is promising to see (urban) opportunities where fiber might be better understood and shared with local citizens and budding artists/designers. The more that we have direct exposure to the methods and materials behind the textiles in our lives, the more likely we are to understand what being sustainable and environmentally-minded truly entails.

Embroidery image by Joetta Maue

Do not miss the Grand Opening of the Textile Arts Center on September 17, 2010. Embroidery artist Joetta Maue will be curating their first gallery exhibit. Read more about their Bags for the People workshop from 6 to 9pm on Thursday, July 22 as well.

Studio Visit with Brece Honeycutt

Posted on: Friday, July 16, 2010

It is always such a privilege to be invited into another artist's studio for a glimpse of what they are working on as well as experience the textures, hues, and objects that inspire their journey. Here is a sampling of images from my recent visit with sculptor Brece Honeycutt. Her 'under the mountain' studio is brimming with pulp and fiber bits of a symbiotic, homespun nature as well as small treasures from the woods and hillsides that nestle her home and studio barn. 
Ingredients such as these antique spools of colorful fibers as well as suspended wool fiber forms enliven the barn's interior with a web of warp and weft magic.
Poetry exists in every corner and linear statements illustrate the overlap of the natural and the (wo)man made. Brece has a way of making the historical seem so contemporary and tangible in form.

I particularly loved these illustrations of Hungarian folk costumes pinned to a beam in the barn.
Brece Honeycutt will be teaching knitting workshops and doing an artist talk at next week's Camp Pocket Utopia. You can learn more about her work here.

String, Felt, Thread Decoded

Posted on: Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Composition' by Sheila Hicks (wool on canvas)

A must read publication for decoding the life of fiber in contemporary art/craft processes and modern sculpture:

String, Felt, Thread and the Hierarchy of Art and Craft by Elissa Auther, published by the University of Minnesota Press (2009) and available in hardcover or paperback on

"String, Felt, Thread presents an unconventional history of the American art world, chronicling the advance of thread, rope, string, felt, and fabric from the “low” world of craft to the “high” world of art in the 1960s and 1970s and its open embrace by artists working today...What accounts for the distinction between art and craft? Why is it so pervasive, if largely unacknowledged, in the art world? What does it mean to elevate the status of a material?" - Elissa Auther

My studio visit with artist Brece Honeycutt yesterday yet again opened up our dialogue about the role of fiber in contemporary art and prejudiced ideas about the value of slow fashion, hand made, domestically cultivated (women's work) projects, and the historical associations tied to such undertakings.

Collaged inspiration wall in Brece Honeycutt's barn studio

Stay tuned for more photos of Brece's amazing rural studio and views into the possibilities for fiber as a viable medium in contemporary art practice and the contemplation of connections.

'Oreiller'/Listening Pillow by Alyce Santoro

Posted on: Thursday, July 08, 2010

Alice Santoro has created the most exquisite, deep-nature accessory that allows users to tune into the subtle vibrations of the earth's rhythms and inner workings.

"This copper "oreiller" (listening pillow) was created for an exhibition of artist-designed pillows titled 'Pillow Culture'. Inspired by a patent filed in 1964 for a "listening pillow" (the original was designed to facilitate listening to music in stereo while lying on one's side), my apparatus was updated considerably to appeal to modern, nature-deprived audiences. The pillow is worn as a headpiece, with the tuft of copper wool serving as a conductor between the ear of the wearer and natural objects."

You can learn more about Alyce's 'sonic fabric' textile, performance, and new wave homesteading projects here. Do not miss this special message regarding her eco-responsible decision to not attend/travel to the Green Sound Wave Festival in San Francisco. A virtual performance can be experienced in the following video.

Erratic Spaces as Interpreted by Don Gill

Posted on: Monday, July 05, 2010

Erratic Spaces/THE LAND was a June exhibition based on visiting artist, Don Gill's February 2010 residency at THE LAND/an art site in Mountainair, New Mexico. To learn more about Gill's long distance walking and mapping journeys, visit his diary/blog

(above images courtesy of Don Gill and The LAND/an art site)

Lace Revival by Jennifer Cecere

Posted on: Thursday, July 01, 2010

'Rose Window' by Jennifer Cecere (2009)

The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is surely a time for celebrating all things independent in spirit and craft nature, and in addition to the needlework of Betsy Ross, lasting traditions of heirloom fiber and textile artistry still ring true in the American landscape and psyche.

Mixed media works on Jennifer Cecere's studio wall

It's no coincidence, perhaps, that I was fortunate to visit the art studio of Jennifer Cecere this past week. The NYC-based artist is a lace-image-maker of the contemporary variety, and her mandala-like doilies bridge the divide between East and West as well as intimate and large scale projects.

Antique laces recycled from attics and estate auctions paired with laser cut, vector drawings of contemporary doilies generated by the artist.

Jennifer and I instantly bonded over our shared history of 4-H club projects and childhoods spent daydreaming and crafting as aspiring (women) artists in rural towns.

'Rose Window' by Jennifer Cecere (Socrates Sculpture Park, 2009)

Cecere exhibited one of her site-specific doilies in Socrates Sculpture Park's 'State Fair' exhibition last summer, and this occasion marked the beginning of a new series of public works where Cecere has expanded on the mapping qualities of the doily template as a ready-made overlay for organic design in both urban and rural settings.

'Ins & Outs' installation by Jennifer Cecere (Rockland Center for the Arts, 2010)

With recent lace inspired public works at the Rockland Center for the Arts and Pratt Institute's Sculpture Garden, the artist is building awareness of the interconnectedness of the myriad realms that we all navigate and inhabit.

Mixed media works on Jennifer Cecere's studio table

Perhaps craft demonstrates a mastery that art and architecture cannot fully penetrate, that is, a certain familiarity with domestic materials that unpretentiously integrate us with our fragile environment and, in turn, revives sustainable traditions that are closely tied to our hopes and dreams.

*Jennifer Cecere's website and projects can be viewed here.

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