Thursday, October 23, 2008
10 Venues in 5 Days
This picture is from Heidi Wulfraat's studio, London-Wul, which is already in my links. (That's Heidi in the apron in the centre.) It was the first stop on our journey from the Moncton Airport to Amherst. And the first fibre art show - with beautiful knitted, hooked and punch needle pieces on display. Her studio is glorious - a clean and simple wood interior is the perfect backdrop for her sumptuous wools. There's something reminiscent about an old barn - all the warmth and charm, but none of the barn smells, since it is new. Heidi has an amazing studio in the back and you can hear bird sounds from the moment you open the door - her finches (at least I think that's what she said they were). I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of her wools that I couldn't choose. Fortunately, many of my fellow hookers didn't share my problem and Mary Manuell was working on one of her lap throws throughout the symposium, which was made spectacular by the variety of fibres in the kit.
The next stop was at Fog Forest Gallery in Sackville. The gallery is small and intimate and the artists' work was beautifully, and simply, displayed. Just the right amount of pieces and grouped so that you were drawn from one piece to the next. The website for Fog Forest is www.fogforestgallery.ca and you can take a little trip there to see the gallery for yourself. I posted a couple of days ago about Janet Crawford, the gallery owner, sharing her wisdom about partnering with a gallery.
The Fibre Arts Festival Welcome Reception on Wednesday night was held at the Tantramar Theatre, an incredible building on Victoria Street. It is a venue for many events in Amherst, and they host "...live theatre, dinner theatres and brown bag lunches, we cater to individuals and businesses as a convention centre as well. As a venue for weddings, meetings and seminars, any event or celebration can be held in our elegant atmosphere." On Saturday at the hook in, the manager of the theatre gave us a very warm welcome and invited us to come back to experience some theatre in the building - oh, if only that were an option....
Halina Bienkowski is a rug hooker who also happens to be a GP in Amherst and runs a clinic with her husband, behind the Pharma Save in town. The reputation of her rugs preceded my seeing them and I can totally understand why. The display in her clinic is absolutely breathtaking. Her pieces are all very large - I think the smallest was probably 4' x 6' and the larger ones were closer to 8' x 8'. They were all themed pieces featuring faces. Each piece had a title and she describes her pieces as being a combination of "satire and whimsy". You can see for yourself at http://www.hookedonrugs.net/ which is her website. Many of the pieces shown on the site are different from the ones in her clinic. After seeing her display, I felt that it was worth the trip all be itself.
The display of rugs at the Symposium itself was also venue. The display was as varied as the attendees. Some pieces were perched on a plate rail along the walls of the hall. Other pieces were held up throughout the two days, so we got to see an incredible amount of variety. I, for one, never tire of Show & Tell.
It seemed that every store and restaurant in town had something on display to promote the Festival. Bella's Cafe featured the work of artist, Lisa Martin, who was doing the needle felting workshop on Saturday. She had a set of tea cozies that were set on the bar the evening of our dinner. They were amazing, and made me regret that I hadn't signed up for the class.
The local Department store, Dayle's, had a quilt square competition. The local drugstore had an amazing display in their window. And even Duncan's Pub had one of Deanne's rug on display (though it might be there all the time). A mother-daughter rug and quilt display at the local Home Furniture made me realize how many opportunities there are out there to show work in a venue that might not be the first thought. I think there is a symbiosis between furniture and fibre art that should be taken advantage of more often.
And then there's Deanne's studio which was the venue of all venues. It exceeded expectation and was an amazing space. Soaring ceilings. Lots of wonderful colours. Old wood floors and counters. Incredible, helpful staff, chairs here and there to sit in and ponder or gaze at the pieces on the wall. And a basement that welcomed us for a cup of tea and a homemade cookie, plus a chance to flip through inspiring coffee table books.
It's easy to see how much these displays contributed to the sense of awe that filled the entire experience. I must confess that I did miss a couple of them. But I certainly felt satisfied by the ones I didn't miss.
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