International flavor sweetens inaugural exhibition
Excitement builds among the orange cliffs of Southern Utah, where a group of art aficionados is putting together a premier exhibition of national and international significance.
Six countries and 21 states will be represented in a celebration of contemporary fabric art titled “Everything in Between: Art Quilts, Fabric Collage and Embroidery.”
Organized by the Art and Design Department of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, the exhibition will run Sept. 27 through Nov. 10 at the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery on campus.
“It will be a blockbuster event for us,” says Deborah Snider, exhibition curator and assistant professor of art education at Southern Utah University.
This collection will span traditional, realistic, abstract, non-objective, and conceptual manipulation and embellishment of fibers and fabric.
Snider, whose own fabric art has been shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, formerly taught at Mesa State College and is a member of the Art Quilt Association based in Grand Junction.
Of the 48 artists invited to show their art in Snider’s Utah show, eight are Coloradans and five of those are from Grand Junction: Heather Bray Bennett, Jessica Geddes, Carrie Hinds, Sandra Hoefner and Carol Patten.
Celebrity quilter Ricky Tims of LaVeta, Tom Lundberg, head of the textiles program at Colorado State University, and Nanci Imburgia of Longmont round out this state’s exhibitors.
The first-time event is meant to initiate an international biennial juried art quilt exhibit, scheduled for 2014 at what will be the newly opened Southern Utah Museum of Art.
This fall, the Braithwaite Gallery hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
More than 3,000 schoolchildren are expected to attend, says Snider, who always seeks opportunities to introduce more people to fabric art.
One of the local exhibitors, Carol Patten, studied under Snider at the former Mesa State and credits the professor’s “creative energy and passion” for propelling Patten into the “fascinating world of fiber arts.”
Patten’s entry in the “Everything in Between” exhibit is titled “Tequila Sunrise in Glen Canyon.” Inspired by houseboat excursions at Utah’s Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Patten gave her fabric art an arched top symbolizing the dome of sky between the orange canyon walls. It measures 18 inches by 26 inches.
She hand-dyed China silk and some cottons in brilliant canyon colors — oranges, golds, rusts, vermillion and claret. Stamped petroglyphs and transferred photos of a canyon wren and a raven are some of the elements she added to her artwork, along with original text that captures Patten’s sense of these leisurely getaways:
“Canyon wren trills the break of day,
Coyote & snake retreat beneath rock.
Raven reels on a departing cool breeze.
I tuck this precious memory away,
Knowing too soon I will awaken,
Beneath a ceiling of plaster,
To a discordant electronic buzz.”
Ravens also influenced Carrie Hinds’ small art quilt titled “Birdman.” These birds play and “watch over the park” across from her house in downtown Grand Junction. Measuring 13 inches by 18 inches, this lighthearted piece is indicative of Hinds’ style.
The ravens are “so fun, playful and smart yet seem to have a magical quality about them,” she says.
Hinds typically uses batik fabrics, sometimes combining these with cloth from secondhand stores and embellishments such as buttons, old earrings and forsaken jewelry. For example, the hand on “Birdman” is a single stray earring.
Her quilt art can be found at Interiors in downtown Grand Junction and the KAFM Radio Room and at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade.
Hinds also designed a piece of original fabric art that was chosen for this year’s Lavender Festival poster.
The other local artists and their entries are Jessica Geddes, who works in miniature, with a quilt titled “What the Shaman Sees;” Heather Bray Bennett, who creates bronze and ceramic quilt designs, with “Mimesis” and “Starburst;” and Sandra Hoefner, with a larger quilt (50 inches by 72 inches) titled “Goofy Foot.” Hoefner’s forte is hand-stitching and outlining figures in piping.
In addition to this six-week exhibit, Snider is coordinating other special free events on four Saturdays during that time frame at the Braithwaite Gallery.
One of those is “Man Quilter!” From 1–3 p.m. Nov. 3, it’s to be an insightful conversation with men who create fabric art.
For details on all associated special events, go to deborahsnider @suu.edu.
I admire and applaud Snider for her role in launching such a notable exhibition at her university.
Many of the top talents on the art quilting scene will show their work at this promising new venue, where you can expect an A to Z material world experience and “everything in between.”
Email Sherida.Warner @GJSentinel.com.