I have a piece in “A Common Thread 2018: Annual Member Exhibition” at the Textile Center of Minnesota, on view through March 10. “Symbolic: 2017” is one in my recent series of danksbrogd weavings. (More on that one here.) Also, the Textile Center runs a series of interview Facebook posts, the “7up” series, and my interview appeared today. (I added the text of my answers at the end of this post.)
On a recent afternoon, I enjoyed a thorough review of the more than 100 entries with my friend Jan Nelson. The show is beautifully and thoughtfully arranged. For example, this piece hanging next to mine is very different in feel, but the orange in both pieces seems enhanced by their juxtaposition.
I was happy to see my friend Claire Most’s beautiful tapestry, “Lily.” It is woven with hand-dyed and natural-colored wool. It warrants close examination, to appreciate the use of tapestry details, like the subtle differences in wool color within the larger areas of color.
As a fan of tapestries, prairies, and North Dakota, I was happy to see Jan Johnson’s “Belfield, ND. It’s wonderful.
Here’s a crazy, startling felted piece, “Toy for Tinnitus,” by Sarah Stengle. I have bad photos; it was difficult to photograph in the front window. This piece was my favorite. (See more amazing work on her website.)
This appropriately warm cap by Rebecca Utecht, “A Wee Bit Sheepish,” would make a great statement on a Super Bowl visitor strolling down the Nicollet Mall this week.
This sheep bag by Kimberly Kaelin, “Woolless Sheep Purse,” is so sweet.
There were so many other striking works of fine craftsmanship, ranging from whimsical to serious. THANK YOU to the Textile Center for hosting this exhibit.
Here are the answers to my 7up interview, as posted on the Textile Center of Minnesota’s Facebook page today.
Our 7-UP artist interview series continues with Robbie LaFleur, and her piece, “Symbolic 2017.”
What was the inspiration for your piece?
I was inspired by the abstract impact of several mid-19th-century coverlets from southern Norway, in a lesser-known weaving technique called danskbrogd.
Timeline and process of creating your piece?
In 2017 I explored the danskbrogd technique in a series of six hangings. To the long-ago weavers of the original pieces, maybe the patterns were generations-old folk symbols, or they had religious meaning. Those direct connections are lost to me, so I added life-or-death symbols familiar to our lives in 2018, nuclear missiles. Large Xs are in most danskbrogd pieces, and wasn’t there much of public life and politics in 2017 that we would prefer to “X” out?
This was the fourth in my series, woven in the summer of 2017 on my Finnish Toika floor loom, using linen warp and Norwegian wool for the weft.
First or favorite experience/interaction with Textile Center?
My favorite workshop ever was taught by the Korean artist Chungie Lee, a nurturing teacher whose imagination is boundless.
Name the one thing that aids your artistic process the most.
Constant exposure to museums, galleries, exhibition catalogs, and images seen online. Works in non-textile media are just as important as works in fiber.
How would your best friend describe your style?
What artist has turned your world upside-down?
The Finnish artist Aino Kajaniemi. Her style of tapestry weaving is so personal and results in evocative and mysterious images of figures.
What’s a favorite piece of fiber art you’ve encountered?
The South African artist William Kentridge slams me down with his brilliance, and his work interpreted in large tapestries is amazing. See this video: https://youtu.be/_R0gKo58hDw