Saturday, November 2, 2013

Textile magic...

Living in the Sacramento area is the best of all worlds, if you're into California. We are a short drive away from two fantastic wine regions, a stone's throw from some fabulous shopping in the bay area, a few hours West to the ocean and less than two hours East through the incredible Sierra's to Lake Tahoe.

It's a great November weekend, and what better way to spend it than to do a little of everything.  Sacramento has a lively cultural and art scene, along with some of the best food in the state. We thought we'd start with taking in a little art at the Sacramento Art Festival, followed by dinner at The Press Bistro in midtown. Today we are headed to Amador County to pick up a wine release and then go see Ballroom with a Twist at Harris Theater tonight.

Back to the art was my first time attending this annual event at the Convention Center. I was a little worried that it might be too "crafty" for my liking, much less entertain my hubby, who has an aversion to the smell of potpourri, little white ducks, and bazillions of Christmas knickknack booths. But I knew if it was really bad, he would at least be able to sit and listen to blues over a draft beer in the designated "Husband Rest Area".

My wariness was totally unwarranted.  The exhibits were great...aisles and aisles of very talented artists using all manner of media. Some of the jewelry was incredible (I guess you CAN sell a $7K necklace at an art fair!) The metal and wood work was amazing, and the photography and paintings also very noteworthy.

But you know where I'm going with this, don't you. Yep, the TEXTILES...oh, the textiles! There were a host of sewists featuring very unique garment designs.  I recognized a fabric used for one jacket that I had in my own stash. I asked the designer where she got it and she responded "Stone Mountain in Berkeley". Well of course you did, hon.

But of all the talented exhibitors at the festival, two textile artists stood out. The first artist, in her words (from her website) "primarily paints on silk and incorporates collage, applique, and quilting techniques to enhance design, texture, and depth." Karel Hendee's work was magnificent - one piece featured all these tiny little individually appliqued aspen leaves, in silk, no less! So much painstaking work requires more patience than I have. There was an ethereal quality to her work...a softness that just made you want to "be" in the artwork. And I read on her website that she hails from Grass Valley (just a short drive away from Sacramento), so I can understand why she seems to be inspired by nature.

Karel puts out a calendar with her images and poetry that she writes...check out her website for more information.

Order Karel's calendar

I think it was about after ten minutes of chatting with textile artist Lisa Paige that my hubby decided it was time to go sit down and listen to some blues. Clearly, I was going to be there for a while. 

We chatted at length about her techniques and style, but I took these words from her website:

  "Sewing techniques include:  free motion quilting, applique, sculpted fabric, couching, thread painting, and needle felting. Additional embellishments are created with beading, fabric painting, metalwork, polymer clay, burning synthetics, and the occasional woodworking challenge!  Some pieces incorporate extra layers with embedded wire, which allows them to be somewhat sculpted, adding greater dimension to an otherwise flat wall piece.  My work features many curved design elements which impart a sense of movement; these are enhanced by the interaction of many layers and textures.  These techniques are accomplished with both machine and hand work."
What boggled my mind about her work was its technical precision juxtaposed to its free-spirited form. Every little seam, every couching stitch, every machined embellishment, every bead choice was perfectly exquisite! The perfectionist in me was totally outclassed by her technical genius. At the same time, the pieces were never overworked - classically simple, yet complex...many of them favoring an Asian influence.

If had had a large magnifying glass, I would have been up even more "up close and personal" to Lisa's stunning artwork. Every quilter, stitcher and needlework junkie I know would kill to be able to create masterpieces such those I saw yesterday. 


Balance III

It was such a joy to chat with Lisa.  Check out her website for more informtion about her and her upcoming shows. Like many of these artists, she exhibits at shows like the art festival frequently. I actually did that whole art show gig with my paintings back in the 70's, so I can speak from personal experience, it a lot of work! As much as I would have loved to purchase a piece from either of these two artists' works, we walked out with a beautiful little wood cutting board for the kitchen...way too practical, Laurel!

Laurel. Keep Art Alive!

1 comment:

Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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