Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Fiber art in Traverse City

I spent last week with my sister in Traverse City MI and was delighted to discover that a new exhibit of fiber art has just opened at the Dennos Museum Center, the work of Detroit quilter Carole Harris, made over a time span from the early 90s to just this year.  I have never seen Harris's work in any of the usual art/quilt show venues, and was happy to discover her!

As is true of so many of us, her work has changed a lot in three decades, from piecing that would win the quilt police seal of approval to a much looser fabric collage approach featuring distressed fabrics, rust and other stains, holes, frayed edges, improvisational hand stitching, fabrics of greatly differing weights and textures, the whole atmospheric variety of fiber-not-on-best-behavior.

Carole Harris, The Sun's Gon' Shine In My Backdoor Someday, 1993

Oh, those fabulous 90s jeweltones!  Oh, that black!  Oh those hanging cord/fringe/doodads!  Oh that kimono form!  I seem to recall a whole lot of quilts from that era using that same recipe, although most of them not as good as these. 

But look at what she's doing now:

Carole Harris, Who Knows Where the Time Goes, 2018 (details below)

Or this one:

Carole Harris, Things Gone, 2019 (details below)

Most of her recent works are densely quilted, both by hand and machine, and as a result don't hang flat against the wall (check out those shadows at the bottom).  But other, smaller pieces with less stitching are framed under glass, a very different look.  A few of these featured handmade joomchi paper, whose variable texture and gorgeous holes fit very nicely with Harris's esthetic of celebrating time and memory.

Carole Harris, Timeworn, 2018 (detail below)

The show is beautifully displayed, but I have one complaint: nobody went around with a roll of masking tape after the quilts went up on the wall to remove the stray threads and bits of lint.  I confess I picked off a lot of them, and hope that Harris isn't mad at me.  I would like for somebody to do the same for me if my quilts were put out in public without that important last once-over.

The show continues at the Dennos through December 29; if you find yourself anywhere north of Midland with an afternoon to spare, make a detour!! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the introduction to her work, its fabulous. Especially love the textures of more recent work , so inspiring