Another great view at Mesa Verde: Fiber art

“Elegant Aspens” by Gay Young Ousley of Abilene, Texas, is one of five top juror’s choices for the “Canyon Voices II” exhibit at the museum in Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado. Juror Gayle Gerson was impressed by how the light shines through and called the stitching “masterful.”

“Living on the edge of the high desert, we see brilliant vermillion cliffs at sunset and feel the fiery tang of freshly roasted green chilis on our tongue ... the brilliant yellow of squash blossoms and golden corn tassels, the graceful shapes of pottery and mysterious symbols on the walls of ancient ruins ...”

How’s that for setting a scene?

Those words are taken from the 2010 theme of a fiber art exhibit titled “Canyon Voices II” that runs through October in the Chapin Mesa Museum Gallery at Mesa Verde National Park in the southwest corner of the state.

This is the second exhibit by the Art Quilt Association of Western Colorado. The previous one in 2008 was well-received, and museum officials invited the group to show its work again this year. All the fiber art pieces are for sale.

Members of the Art Quilt Association, known as AQuA, changed their format this time through. Rather than traditional sizes, each person made a small quilt, 8 inches by 8 inches and presented it in a 12-inch by 12-inch mat.

Limiting the dimensions may have presented a new creative challenge for some of the artists. But it also fit into a savvy marketing plan. The smaller size will be easier for park visitors to purchase and pack in their suitcases. This ambitious group of fiber artists prides itself on producing, exhibiting and selling high-quality work.

Juror for this “Canyon Voices II” exhibit was Gayle Gerson of Grand Junction, a professional collage and watercolor artist who teaches at the Art Center and exhibits at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade.

Her mission was to select the top five pieces, but Gerson found she was unable to limit herself to five and expanded it to a top 10 from a total of 101 entries. She commented on the quality and diversity of the pieces, and often considered a series by one artist in her judging.

“A consistent quality of works counts for something as each square relates to the other in a series,” she says.

Her choices are:

1. “Elegant Aspens” by Gay Young Ousley of Abilene, Texas.

2. “Signal Fires on the Mesa” by Sandra Hoefner of Grand Junction, also chosen to represent the exhibit on a promotional postcard.

3. “Fractured Cliff Dwelling 4” by Christi Beckmann of Berthoud.

4. “Goddess x3” by Susan Strickland of Grand Junction.

5. “Fractured Landscape II” by Carole O’Brien of New Castle.

6. “Nestled Away” by Ousley.

7. “Canyon Rocks” by Jan Warren of Grand Junction.

8. “The Gossips” by Susan Strickland of Grand Junction.

9. “Sky Fire” by Carol Patten of Grand Junction, also voted second in members’ choice.

10. “Going Somewhere!” by Georgina Chapman of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Members’ choice: “Message on the Rock” by Barbara Scott of Grand Junction.

The top five are shown with this column. The others can be seen at

Or you may want to take this opportunity to travel south and be amazed at the views of the great Southwest and the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings. Be sure to visit the museum gallery and marvel at this fiber art exhibit while you’re in the vicinity.

E-mail Sherida.Warner


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