Sunday, November 27, 2016

World of Threads 2016: some observations

Let me begin with what was perhaps my favourite piece at this year's World of Threads, the biennial festival of fibre art, ending today.

Nine Tales, Joyce Watkins King
nylon hosiery, acrylic paint, wood glue;
stretched, twisted, burned, punctured, wrapped, layered and painted

I liked its bold, graphic quality, its high contrast and interesting use of line and shape. The use of material is innovative and edgy. Below are a couple of detail shots that show how the distressed hosiery makes such great shapes and textures. This piece was, incidentally, hung in one of the better spaces in the facility, a gallery setting with good lighting.

Nine Tales, Joyce Watkins King (detail)

Nine Tales, Joyce Watkins King(detail)

So many of the other great pieces on display would have benefited from the same consideration. As ambitious and impressive as the World of Threads is, it is seriously handicapped by a second-rate exhibition space. Often, works in fibre are complex and subtle, and they need good lighting so the viewer can fully appreciate them. I found that often the beautiful colours and textures only became apparent on close examination. Four years ago, the galleries at Sheridan College were put to use for the World of Threads, and I wish the organization could access that excellent exhibition space again.

Here are a few of the pieces that I particularly enjoyed, including some detail shots:

Serie Conectores, Miriam Medrez, Monterrey, Mexico,
metallic mesh, thread, cotton textile and metallic structure

 Serie Conectores, Miriam Medrez, (detail)

Serie Conectores, Miriam Medrez,  (detail)

Serie Conectores, Miriam Medrez,  (detail)

Losing Touch, Karen Rips, Thousand Oaks, California, USA
cotton, organza, wool, netting, dye, fabric paint, thread;
discharged, felted, painted, hand- and machine-stitched

Losing Touch, Karen Rips (detail)

Enzo-MM - A, Neta Ashauch, Harduf, Israel,
wool; hand felting 

Enzo-MM - A, Neta Ashauch (detail)

Rust-rose, Susan Hotchkis, Guernsey, UK
felt, voile, satin, silk;
digital print, paper lamination, digitized embroidery,
heat distressing, free-motion stitching and trapunto quilting

Rust-rose, Susan Hotchkis (detail)

Crackle, Susan Hotchkis, Guernsey, UK
felt, voile, cotton organdie;
paper lamination, digitized embroidery, heat distressing, appliqué,
free-motion stitching and screen printing

Crackle, Susan Hotchkis (detail)

Earth Repair, Lesley Turner, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
vintage afternoon tea cloth, leaves, cotton thread, wood, jute, sealer;
eco-stained, laundered, hand- and machine-stitched, sealed

Earth Repair, Lesley Turner, (detail)

Declaration of Independence, Marzena Ziejka, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Handspun hand-dyed wool (weft), linen (warp);
Hand-woven tapestry with eccentric weft

Declaration of Independence, Marzena Ziejka (detail)

Fingers crossed: perhaps next time around the organizers will be able to secure a facility that does justice to the impressive work submitted to the show.

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