UW Today

July 14, 2011

Fiber arts exhibit shows off work of certificate program graduates

Connecting Threads, an exhibition of fiber artwork by alumni of the University of Washington Certificate in Fiber Arts Program, will be on display July 15-Sept. 30 in the fourth floor mezzanine of the UW Tower. The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 15 during the University District Art Walk.

'Dennis R,' by Dorothy McGuiness

"Dennis R," by Dorothy McGuiness

The exhibit presents the work of 55 artists from four years of the UW Certificate in Fiber Arts Program. The artists represented in Connecting Threads use innovative and experimental approaches to the medium of fiber in art. An extensive variety of materials have been used to create the works on exhibit, including fiber in wax encaustic paint, hand dyed burlap, digital photography and felted sculpture.

The artists in Connecting Threads come from diverse and varied backgrounds ranging from professionally trained artists to engineers to fulltime moms ranging in age from 20 to 70. Featured artists include Suzanne Tidwell, whose covered knit trees and lampposts are currently installed in Occidental Square as part of the City of Seattles ARTSparks program.

“Fiber art is often seen as functional, repetitive, womens work,” said Barbara Matthews, show coordinator and graduate of the 2009 class. “In our first class exercise with Layne Goldsmith, we examined this notion and looked at the evolution of fiber art as a serious art form. This show represents an exciting step toward elevating fiber arts in Seattle.”

'Tiny Chime,' by Kira Bacon

"Tiny Chime," by Kira Bacon

“I had all the technical skills I needed, plus historical and cultural background material,” said Maura Donegan, class of 2008. “What I lacked was direction, where to go from here. I was a ‘Jane of all trades. The UW program taught me to think about who I was, what I did, what made me ‘me. I learned to appreciate my own voice.” Her delicately embroidered artwork was recently shown at Catherine Person Gallery.

Connecting Threads is a unique exhibit of 55 contemporary fiber artists who challenge the boundaries of this medium in exciting directions.

The program is taught by Layne Goldsmith, artist, designer and professor at the University of Washington School of Art and recent recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning Award; Michael Cepress, award-winning artist, designer and UW adjunct faculty; and Laura Wright, award-winning artist, teacher and community organizer.

The curriculum emphasizes the creative, conceptual and expressive aspects of all mediums of fiber arts. Students learn to develop an extensive visual vocabulary by making use of such elements as design, color, mixed media and collage. They are encouraged to experiment with incorporating elements of autobiography, history and culture into their work. The advisory board of the program includes fiber artists, professors and curators, and is developed in partnership with the UW School of Art.

Hours for the exhibit are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.