TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Textile Stamps Listed on Etsy!

I just listed several new textile stamps in my Etsy store. These are from Afghanistan, seconds from textile workshops there and carved out of pear wood.

Textile stamps have many uses for artists. Originally made for printing on fabric with ink or wax resist, they can also be used on paper or imprinted into clay. Make sure you have a soft padding under your fabric or paper when you press down. This will give you a clearer image.

As these stamps have been used, they might have nicks, damage or wear. Most artists who buy them, like the distressed look this produces. But, for a cleaner imprint, the stamps can be repaired using wood filler. Scrub them well before use as they have ink or wax residue from their prior use. Keep them lightly oiled when not in use. Cover with Vaseline before imprinting into clay.
Go to my Etsy store to see what is in stock or read past articles here for more information on the stamps as well as fabric and clay samples of how they have been used.

The stamps are also beautiful in their own right! I have many laying around my house just because I like looking at them. Larger ones can be displayed using plate hangers or stands.


Monday, June 15, 2009

A Pilgrimage to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

If I were to go anywhere in the world as a pilgrimage, my choice would be the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. I can't think of another place that would be a Mecca of all my interests in culture, people and the wonderful things they make. Sure, there are many other folk art festivals that would be interesting, but this has to top them all! Every year I hope I can go and so far I haven't been able to afford the trip. You see, it's not only going there and experiencing the environment that would thrill me, but I also would want to buy, buy, buy!!!! Someday it will happen!

Meanwhile, you go. Go be my eyes and ears and report back about how much fun it was! Tell us all about the wonderful people you met and what treasures you bought. The Market will be loaded with all of the ingredients to make anyone clap with joy, dance with delight and participate to their heart's content. There will 140 artists present representing 41 countries! You can travel the world just by walking around! Workshops, ethnic foods, live music and cultural presentations combine to make this a world event in one of the most interesting cities of the world.

Here is a video from last year's market:

My biggest joy would be to interact with the artists and see them at work. The International Folk Art Market's website has a full listing of those who are scheduled to come with a bio of their work. I picked a sampling just to give you an idea of the wonderful diversity of both regions represented and the work they produce, although I have to admit that even though I love all craft forms, I do tend to gravitate towards the textiles. The photos and text belong to the Santa Fe International Folk Art's site and I am quoting a partial bio just to entice you over to their site. Click on the Artist's name to see their full page.

Artisan Committee of Centro Poblano de Chijnaya
Chijnaya Foundation
The Andean village of Chijnaya was born after a flood in 1963 devastated villages near Lake Titicaca. As part of the resettlement project, and through the influence of Peace Corps volunteers, the concept of having the children embroider scenes of daily life took hold. What emerged were “bordados” employing hand-dyed alpaca yarn embroideries soon captured world attention and on a ground of “bayeta” or hand-woven simple weave woolen cloth.

The Palestinian Territories
Sulafa Embroidery Shop/project of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency runs a self-supporting embroidery program which employs over 500 refugee women in the Gaza Strip to produce articles to sell at the Sulafa Embroidery Shop, helping preserve valuable traditions and increasing family incomes.

Silver and Gemstone Jewelry

Moussa Albaka is from Niger, Africa, and as a metal-smith he designs gorgeous jewelry using sterling silver, Tuareg silver and semi-precious stones. His techniques include engraving intricate geometric designs, using decorative inlay, and a lost wax process.

Georgian Textile Group
Embroidered, Woven and Felted
Textiles and Objects
Nino Kipshidze, founder and president of The Georgian Textile Group (GTG), has been involved in crafts since her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. GTG is an association of artists, designers, researchers, art historians, and ethnographers working to revive and improve the quality of Georgian folk textile art and craft and to support artisans works and by creating an international market for their work.

Tesoros Trading Company
Woodblock Prints and Chapbooks

José Borges, one of Latin America’s most celebrated folk artists, wields his knife and piece of wood in his humble workshop, attracting collectors and curators from around the world. Considered an unlettered folk poet, Jose has more than 200 cordel, or chapbook, titles to his name and is still writing.

Yuzhen Pan
Minority People Textile Folk Artists Cooperative of Southwest China
Weaving, Embroidery and Batik
Yuzhen’s family continues to farm in Guizhou while she lives part time in Beijing working in an embroidery workshop and selling Miao textile items at an open air market.


As you can see, each artist comes with a story, a life-line that connects them to their region. It will surely be fascinating for anyone who can make it to the festival. But, I also think this is such a profoundly valuable opportunity for all of the participating artists. I have worked in multi-cultural groups for many years and remember how disturbing it was to me that each group has its own set of biases, misconceptions and stereotypes that can lead to racism and narrow-mindedness. This is not only about white people learning about the world and "helping" through their dollars, but instead, contact and interaction opens all people to a larger world filled with new opportunities. We all have the need to both give and receive, to teach and to learn, to share and to grow and this makes the world a safer, healthier and more dynamic place to live.

If you make it to the Market, please report back here and tell us how it went! Or, if you like to write, I would love to have your experiences documented in a post. Take lots of photos and share them with us! Someday I will make my pilgrimage, but until then, enjoy yours!

Visit the Santa Fé Convention and Visitors Bureau for travel info.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Magical Mending with Laura Foster Nicholson

Uzbek Bag Magically Mended with LFN Artist Ribbons

by Laura Foster Nicholson

I bought a wonderful Uzbek embroidered bag 2 or 3 years ago – totally covered in a silk cross-stitch, and finished with handles and bottom made of a hand-woven, silk satin-weave ikat fabric. It was run through with gold mylar threads.

Well, what a conundrum. The needlework on the bag – I believe it is Tadjik – is glorious. Weeks of work in fine, tight stitches. The bag itself was thrown together with a rayon lining and zip, and the satin ikat trim was destined to wear out quickly. So I have been gradually reinforcing and mending this wonderful item with my own ribbon. Nearly all of the satin is worn out – the bottom remains but it will have to be patched soon.

The first thing to go was the connection between the handles and the body of the bag, so I patched the junctions with squares cut from my Dandelion and Labyrinth ribbons, which went well with the colors of the bag.

Dandelion Ribbon by LFN Textiles

Labyrinth Ribbon by LFN Textiles

You can see that the satin is really frayed here:

Uzbek bag in need of strengthening.

Now the straps have worn through, so today’s job was to reinforce/cover them with ribbon. I used a black 1 ½” grosgrain and sewed it first to the underside of the handles straight through the old straps. Then I turned the strap to the face, and sewed on my Samarkand Scroll (Yay! An Uzbek-inspired pattern) to the face of the strap, centering it along the way. I sewed it down with a decorative feather stitch. The craftsmanship is more “direct”, I would say, than “careful”, but in the spirit of the original it gets the job done.

Uzbek inspired Samarkand Scroll Art Ribbon by LFN Textiles

Detail of mended Uzbek bag using LFN Art Ribbon.

This should get this bag through the next 6 months of daily use; then I will have to amend the bottom of the bag and will probably use another Labyrinth ribbon – or maybe Samarkand in emerald.

Samarkand Art Ribbon, Emerald, by LFN Textiles
Uzbek inspired!

Laura Foster Nicholson, nationally known for her brocaded tapestries, owns LFNTextiles, which produces jacquard textiles and ribbons. LFNTextiles' ribbons reflect the same attention to detail as the hand made tapestries. Both ribbons and tapestries are ornate and elaborate woven textiles, whose only function is to provide decoration, richness, and a sense of delight.



LFNTextiles ribbons are in the permanent textile collections of these museums:

The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Museum

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Laura Foster Nicholson’s tapestries are in the permanent collections of these museums:

The Archives of the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

The Denver Art Museum

Cranbrook Academy of Art/Museum

The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Museum

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The Racine Art Museum

and in many private and corporate collections nationwide.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cube Grenades: Transforming Art Through Social Objects

by Gina DeLorenzi

What's a Cube Grenade?

You've seen some of the eye candy showing up in commercial advertising recently. Short, simple, effective, sometimes even profound.

The advertising world is moving to a new model for grabbing and keeping our attention. It is capitalizing on the concept of “social objects”. A social object is the centerpiece of any conversation. It doesn't matter what the object or idea is, simply that there's a connection going on between people centered on the object or idea.

The Mile Long Aids Memorial Quilt, A "Cube Grenade"

I don't think you can purposely manipulate social objects like the beer ads that try to make us buy their beer by associating good times with friends, BBQ's, tubs of beer and a lot of laughing. Social objects are spontaneous happenings. (It's the viral phenomenon of social networks.)

“Big social objects have more social gravity. They attract conversation like stars and big planets attract matter from space. Tiny social objects are more like a meteor shower; each one has very little gravitational pull as such, but when you add up all the tiny particles in space, they embody more total matter than the big constellations.” Juri Engelstrom, product manager at Google.

If the social object (idea) is a very good one, it could become a “cube grenade”. Cube grenade is the curiosity-arousing phrase created by cartoonist Hugh MacLeod. Cube grenades jump start conversations, they make us keep returning to an idea or object again and again, they motivate us to do something, go somewhere, they get us all excited about the new cool thing. McLeod says tube grenades stir up Trouble in the best sense of the word. A cube grenade can get left behind by a “conversation” that becomes so interesting that it eclipses the original social object. When such a transformation happens, people, ideas and actions can change the world, (for good or bad, sadly).

Cube Grenades as Art

"Allegria", Art Quilt by Gina DeLorenzi

I made my one and only art cube grenade about 6 years ago and I've have been resting on it ever since. Allegria is the best art quilt I have made. Allegria engages. It causes people to come back to it over and over. I could have sold several Allegrias, I still get requests for it. I think it will hold its own for many years even while quilt art trends come and go.

It's time for me to make another cube grenade with my fabric art. More of my art should be cube grenades. I should try to make every art quilt a cube grenade.

Human cubicles improving the world.

Make Your Own Cube Grenade!

Every human is his or her our own cubicle. Each of us can create a cube grenade with our talent and resources. When we create a cube grenade with our art, we “blow away the competition”. So, getting back to the title of this article, let's make cube grenades in our art and with our daily lives. The world sure needs improvement in all the basics. Whether we think Play it Forward, Random Acts of Kindness, or Cube Grenades, we need to get to work, right now.

"Evening Blossom", Art Quilt by Gina DeLorenzi

Gina is a self taught quilt artist. She creates visual and emotional impressions in her fiber art by allowing a relationship between various fabrics to emerge. The stunning results of her dyeing and sewing techniques energize the direction each art work takes.

Gina is a regular contributor here on Fiber Focus. Click here to see her past posts.

modern interpretations of a traditional art form
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