Friday, January 21, 2011

Your Fiber Eyes

So it’s mid-January – a fresh start, a blank slate, and here I was with an unfortunately blank list of blog topics.  In perusing the news feed on our SEFAA website (Thanks, Suzi!), I noticed an article about fiber artist Anna Von Mertens winning a $50,000 prize from “United States Artists.”  Naturally, I went to look at her work, and I was surprised.  I was also moved to state my opinion.

Anna bases her work on her imagined “reading” of the auras of other people’s biographical paintings (Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington, etc.)  Now, there is no plagiarism going on here – her small hand dyed and quilted creations bear absolutely no resemblance to the originals, as far as I can see.  They are pretty much simple, amorphous blobs of color on cotton, hand quilted in a rectangular frame. 

The work is interesting, but, in my own opinion, is definitely in the “eye of the beholder” category.  There are so many outstanding quilt and other fiber artists whom I admire tremendously.  Some are members of SEFAA.  However – and this is a big however – I am always delighted when any fiber artist gets recognition on a grand scale.  Even though I would have nominated someone else for this honor, I didn’t.  When one fiber artist wins, we all win - because it’s fiber and it’s actually being taken seriously as ART!  Hooray for that, and hooray for Anna.

You can go to the website for United States Artists at  to see the names of the 52 artists honored for 2010.  I actually googled all of them to look at their work, and some of it is really impressive.  Anna won in the “Visual Arts” category, rather than in the “Crafts and Traditional Arts.”  U.S.A. as an organization is a big hitter with huge funding.  Maybe we need to ask them for a grant for SEFAA.


The first big storm of 2011 is snowy history now.  I didn’t get a chance to do any snow dyeing (Did you?), but we kept our power on, thank goodness, and I did get to look at some cool websites.  Here are a few you might like:

The Textile and Fiber Art List has been mentioned on our website before, but it bears repeating.  Huge guide to lots of fabulous artists/craftsmen and their websites.
Find it at  The currently featured art is outstanding crochet by Nothing But String.

Terry Grant is a quilt artist who lives in Portland, Oregon.  Her work is gorgeous and her blog delightful.  You can find her at

Sue Benner is another fabulous quilt artist.  Eye candy at

For a fun Georgia perspective, visit Deb Lacativa of Gwinnett County, who dyes fabric and makes art quilts with attitude at

Down in South Georgia, Vicki at is a fun blogger to visit with and be inspired by.

And, of course, I can’t resist something that combines the words “subversive” and “stitch” in the same title.  Susan Lenz has a wonderful buffet of fiber information and connections at  Read down toward the bottom of her blog for some great advice about pricing your work.

So many wonderful fiber connections are out there among fiber artists/craftsmen – enlightening and, as our website says, intertwining us all. 

Please send me your ideas for this blog.  A guest blog would be welcome, too.  And I’d love to show photos of your fiber work. 

Happy 2011,