Visual

Stitching Stories

Twenty years of fiber art

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The classy Gaches Mansion atop the hill in La Conner has a new name, but it’s the same institution. Now known as the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum, it continues to host exhibitions of the best fiber art in the northwest—and Oct. 6-8, will celebrate two decades of operations with a 20th Anniversary Festival.

Among several fine shows right now is “The State of WA(ter).” The Studio Art Quilt Association challenged its Washington members to interpret extremes of moisture—rainforest in the west and near-desert east of the Cascades. The winning submissions show off embroidery, stitching, quilting, dyeing and even digital photo printing on fabric.

You’ll enjoy brilliant tapestries of spawning salmon, a whirlpool, docks, boats, canals—and a menacing abstract by Barbara O’Steen, who foresees a desiccated Earth where only insects survive.

In “Reflections of Eldean,” Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry recalls a cruise through the San Juan Islands with an image of her boat’s reflection. It’s a striking composition with strong light and dark contrasts, enhanced by painstakingly quilted ripples and shadows.

Small waves are also the inspiration for the bold, abstract tapestry, “Ripple Effect,” by Bonnie Bucknam. 

Deborah Ann combines “Rights” with “Rites” in a portrait of an irrigation canal, water just beginning to flow, framed at top by snowy peaks and below, a lush river. Ann has lived in the Yakima valley since 1995, where she’s part of “a vibrant community of fabric artists who have helped…push my work into a more painterly style.”

Fine landscapes, moon-glow anemones, oysters, a jellyfish ballet (by Mary Berdan), and nudibranchs (Carla Stehr) fill out the exhibit.
Another floor hosts “One by Two,” an exhibit dreamed up by the new curator, Katrine A. Eagling. She gave a different photograph to each of eight fabric artists and challenged them to design small “wall quilts” inspired by the image. Meanwhile, Eagling created eight of her own to compare with them. 

Some are realistic, and some abstract. Improbably, Eagling incorporated a row of zippers into a hanging tapestry. Laura Smith bent the rules and gave Eagling a challenge—a photo of desert boulders. Eagling responded with a literal rendition, “Geology,” while Smith herself mischievously put up a cubistic nude, “Canyon Woman.”

History buffs and quilt experts will enjoy a display from the permanent collection, most of which is not usually on view. All are important cultural documents, many from the mid-19th century. I marveled at a table cover pieced together from several hundred silk cigar wrappers (of all things), including “Seal of Havana” and “Cuban Beauty.”

After the 1840s, mass-produced textiles freed women from weaving cloth for everyday wear and quilting became a satisfying creative activity. Neighbors quilted together and shared patterns. The new mail-order catalogs offered hundreds more.

“Crazy Quilts” became a big fad. Two on display come with touching stories—one was the work of a beautiful young woman who died at age 31; another, adorned with Disney cartoons, was completed in 1976 by a 75-year-old woman who had been quilting since age 9.

Skagit-Wynonna
More Visual...
Pioneer Museum
Bringing history into sharp focus

If there’s one museum I love to get lost in, it’s the Lynden Pioneer Museum on the city’s Front Street.

The 28,000-square-foot space has an amazing series of exhibits that take visitors back in time and give them a glimpse of city life, the agricultural history of Lynden, modes of…

more »
River's Edge
Seasonal sights in Mount Vernon

The River Gallery on Landing Road near the lower Skagit River, once a commercial greenhouse, is a natural home for art. The light is perfect and it’s roomy enough to show off works by 38 artists—more than most museums.  I always look forward to the harmony and balance of the exhibition…

more »
Studio Stats
An abundance of art

As the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour has grown near, organizers of the event that sees dozens of area artists opening their creative spaces for public perusal for two weekends every October have been highlighting on their Facebook page the various painters, sculptors, journal-makers, jewelers,…

more »
Events
Today
Book Group Mixers

5:30pm|Village Books

Bringing history into sharp focus

10:00am

Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

U.S. Citizenship Class

6:00pm|Lynden Library

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

3MB

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Summer Bike Stories

7:00pm|Cafe Velo

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

CWWarrenMiller
Tomorrow
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

3MB

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Grand Opening and Open House

11:00am|Social Fabric

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Clean Eating

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|downtown Bellingham

Art Night

5:00pm|SpringHill Suites by Marriott

12 Minutes Max Auditions

5:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Amber Sky CD Release Party

6:00pm|Presence Studio

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

6:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetry Party

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Upstream

7:00pm|Village Books

USA Dance

7:00pm|Majestic

Thriller Dance Class

7:00pm|Moles Farewell Tributes

Halloween Movie Night

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Holding the Light

8:00pm|Honey Moon

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books
Saturday
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

3MB

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Lynden Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Terrell Creek

Scarecrow Stuffing Contest

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Landscape stewards work party

9:00am|Chuckanut Center

Pumpkins 4 Pajamas

9:00am|Lakeway Fred Meyer

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Pumpkin Patch on Rails

9:00am|Wickersham Station

Port race ponders a wasted waterfront

9:30am

Everyday Superheroes 5K

10:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Bellingham Comicon

10:00am|Ferndale Event Center

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Blaine Oktoberfest

10:00am|Blaine

Community Cider Pressing

10:00am|Chuckanut Center

98221 Studio Tour

10:00am|Fidalgo Island

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Enlightened Caterpillar

10:30am|Village Books

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Crown Jewel Wilderness

11:00am|Western Washington University Bookstore

Mushrooms gone wild

12:00pm

Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Conquering Writer's BLock

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Winter Birds of Whatcom County

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Undersea Bubble Fantasia

2:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Brew on the Slough

5:00pm|Maple Hall

Community Library Celebration

5:00pm|North Fork Library

Bellingham Hoptoberfest

6:00pm|Bellingham Sportsplex

Seeds of Change

6:30pm|Edison Granary

The Great Unconformity

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Symphony's Gala Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Whose Live Anyway?

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Original Comedy Night

8:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 CWWarrenMiller Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Village Books