Monday, September 22, 2014

LAFTA in lace

My local fiber art group, Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists, has a member show every year.  Usually it's juried, but this year we broke precedent in two ways -- not only was there no juror, but we had a theme: lace.  I confess that when I heard about the theme I was dubious.  I was afraid that it would call forth a bunch of art so sweet that it would make your teeth hurt, a cross between Valentines and cotton candy.

But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that only a couple of the pieces were sentimental or cute and most had an exhilarating edge.  The red walls probably helped; on white many of the pieces would have faded into the wall, and on pink you would have had insulin shock.

Here are some of the works that I particularly liked:

Trish Korte, Paper Lace #1 (detail)

Sorry for the reflection; always hard to photograph encaustic.  This one features paper doilies in pleasant un-sweet colors.

Deborah Levine, Valentine Dreams

This assemblage is 3-D, mounted on a piece of old wood and displayed on a metal easel.  Debby told me she started with stiffened fabric glued into an old candy box, but it was too boring, so she started to rip it out.  Instead, the box ripped, which gave exactly the feeling she wanted.  It's not easy to make a tough piece out of lace, but this one succeeds and I like it.

Kevin Rose Schultz, Reconfiguration

Stiffened lace made into a life-sized torso; again, beautiful without being sweet.  Kevin won a major award for the best textile art at the Kentucky State Fair last month for a very similar piece; it will be interesting to see whether she takes this series farther and what she can do to avoid repeating herself.

Here are two works with the same basic description: sepia-toned photos of ladies from the past, printed on fabric and surrounded by lace and stitching on vintage textiles.  But they have very different characters.

Susan Grant, Edith

This portrait is formally finished and framed, the lace intact (if a bit yellowed by time) and symmetrical.

Joanne Weis, Mothers Great and Grand, detail below

By contrast, this piece is a bit raw, with torn edges and rust stains, casually mounted with some tails of lace, densely hand stitched in a much more improvisational style.  While it's clearly an homage to the grandmothers pictured, it's evocative and less sentimental than Susan's, with a drop of darkness.  If we gave awards at our shows I'd probably wish that this one got best in show.

1 comment:

  1. Love the variety of work. In my opinion, the detail photo of Mothers Great and Grand is almost more compelling than the overall piece... but that's just me. I like Reconfiguration, too, though I've not seen another piece like it before.