The Octagon's 41st Annual National Exhibit in Ames, IA was fun and encouraging! Encouraging because of the very positive comments the juror made to me about my work during a personal conversation and fun because of the diversity of work. Two pieces caught my attention - one because of the light factor and a second one because of its uniqueness. Both of these were equally captivating by their sheer size. They were hangings that hung down from the 15' ceiling and spilled onto the floor. You couldn't miss them even though the room was packed with people! Catherine Spencer from IA did a gauze fiber piece titled "Memories." It portrayed different experiences in her life which by nature of the material and how it was woven certainly expressed vulnerability and transparency. This is a, can I say, scarey light factor - it's hard to be vulnerable and transparent! But there is freedom and healing that can happen when we do. Showing art has a degree of vulnerability and sometimes transparency involved as the artist displays part of themselves before the public's critical eye. Catherine risked showing her life through this delicate and open piece - leaving the viewer to wonder what were her memories and probably recalling some of their own. What would your memory weaving look like? As you look at this small section of what the overall piece looked like try to imagine a 3' wide piece hanging down 15' and draping over a white box onto the floor. The white you see is the wall across the way.
"Female Portrait" by Charity Straszheim from MN is a knitting made with yarn given to her by various women. It had a whimsical feel to it but substantive and complicated - just like women, right?! Charity also left the tail ends of the yarns showing on her piece - that made me think of how women's lives have some "loose ends" even though we try to keep everything together. Here is but a small segment of this piece - unfortunantely the room was so crowded my options at angles to take a picture were limited. Lower down from this more upward view were wider sections - perhaps showing that women come in all sizes and shapes. It would have been fun to have talked with the artist about this "long" work!
Wishing you creative light,