Trek through woods inspires fiber exhibit
A trip over the mountains and through the woods is a journey that never grows old for most Coloradans.
That’s true for local fiber artists whose focus on the woods is the inspiration for another exhibit of art in Denver: “A Walk in the Woods — Encore.”
Members of the Art Quilt Association, based in Grand Junction, interpreted the theme in a variety of ways — from trees as design elements or symbols, in sweeping landscape vistas and in detailed vignettes and mysterious narratives, says Sue Benner of Dallas, who juried the exhibit. Benner is a highly regarded art quilter and instructor who recently taught in Grand Junction.
The special “Woods” exhibit has been on display since Thursday at the Denver National Quilt Festival VIII at the Denver Merchandise Mart. The festival ends today.
The association chose the same topic as its quilt exhibition that traveled to shows last year in Philadelphia and Manchester, N.H. New quilts were required for this encore presentation.
“Given the theme of the show,” Benner says, “I am particularly drawn to quilts that have a point of view that places me in the midst of the woods.”
Her top five selections:
1. “A Walk in the Donnersberg” by Janet Schupp of Grendstadt, Germany, brought Benner “right to the snowy woods, perhaps by snowshoe,” she says.
Its creator, Schupp, explains that her fabric art is inspired by photos taken near Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.
2. “Forest Treasures” by Kathleen Malvern of Grand Junction, captures the opposite effects of cool, moonlight and warm sunlight on the vegetation.
Benner says the quilt makes her ponder “the tangled branches around me and marvel at their patterns.”
3. “Lichen Hikin’” by Susan Van Voorhees of Grand Junction also contrasts shady spots of mossy greens and ferns with sunny areas that feed ever-growing lichen on textured rocks.
“It reminds me of a childhood fantasyland with hours of exploration to be had,” Benner says.
4. “Pioneer Cabin” was always “the last family hike of the season before I headed back to college,” says its creator, Terry Lee of Carbondale.
5. “My Garden Shed” was made by Pam Franklin of Grand Junction. She invites the viewer to “pause here for a peaceful reflection of the memories collected along your walk in the woods.”
“Stay as long as you like,” she says.
Three quilts received honorable mention from the juror: “Yellowstone Revisited” by Susan Strickland of Grand Junction, “Aspen Trees in Autumn Splendor” by Cindy Williams of Paonia and “A Walk Along the Canal” by Nancy Vanaken of Paonia.
Benner says she discovered representational as well as abstract and stylized art among the exhibit entries, use of vibrant colors and some muted palettes and sometimes a sense of humor and playfulness.
In art quilts, she looks carefully at how fabric and thread are used to create an image. Sometimes, paint and other embellishments come into play. The craftsmanship should be appropriate to the style of the work.
Finally, Benner says, “I want to experience all these elements working together, creating a unified whole.”