Beauty of woven art to be explored at the Art Center

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By Mandy Marksteiner

Members of the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center will be invited to show their work at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge from March 27-May 2. The exhibit, called “Crossing: Fiber Color Culture,” features unique woven and quilted wall hangings, rugs and wearable art. The exhibit opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday.

 The show features beautiful and functional pieces of art made from indigenous plant materials and the wool of local sheep. The 35 northern New Mexico artists participating in the show produced a range of products from rugs to clothing to dolls that have been woven, quilted, knitted or felted. More than 120 pieces will be displayed.

EVFAC preserves and promotes the rich textile heritage and contemporary fiber culture of northern New Mexico. In its 14 years of existence, it offers affordable year-round classes that emphasize traditional art forms like Rio Grande and Chimayó weaving and natural dyeing. It is dedicated to preserving the natural fiber arts traditions in Northern New Mexico and empowering people to make a living with art.

The variety of work reflects the diversity of the many artists.

Coco Atkinson was born in Mexico City. When she moved to New Mexico she took a few classes at the EVFAC to learn about weaving.  Her skills as a weaver allow her to live in the rural village of Truchas and create art inspired by her surroundings.

Terry Lindstrom first learned how to knit when her great-grandmother taught her to make a pot holder with rug yarn. She now knits delicate lace shawls and designs her own patterns.

Anna Mae Patterson learned to make beautiful, practical things from the women in her family who wove and knit. She loves to knit and weave things that provide warmth, pleasure and beauty.

Caroline Rackley grew up with all the things that make up wilderness ranch life; carving, sewing, knitting, embroidery and weaving. “It was an atmosphere where life and art went hand in hand,” she said.  She has since returned to farm life and strives to fill her life with art.

Cornelia Theimer Gardella was born, raised and educated in Germany. She wanted to immerse herself in the landscape, culture and traditions of New Mexico and so she earned her associate’s degree in fiber arts from the Northern New Mexico College in El Rito.  She now teaches Synthetic Dyes and Contemporary Tapestry at NNMC.

Ruth Valasquez has been weaving for the past                        31 years. She grows the plants that she uses for the dyes and is learning to spin so that she will be able to weave any project from fleece to finished product.

During years of world travel, Marjo Herbert was able to spend time with native artisans and is inspired by how artfully they make every day objects. “Unlike so many functional objects in contemporary culture where form and function are frequently unrelated, utilitarian wares of indigenous peoples … marry the two into one aesthetically pleasing whole,” Herbert said.

Pamela Colton received a BFA in Fiber Arts and Ceramic Sculpture from Arizona State University and has been a fiber artist for more than 35 years. Her inspiration comes from her dreams and from nature.

LaDonna Mayer began her weaving career in 1973 when she built her first loom. Now she owns Studio           17 Weaving, in Santa Fe.

Mary Coolidge Cost is both a poet and an artist. In 1990 she was named the Poet Laureate of Bucks County, Pa. and in 2005 she published a collection of poetry called “Goldfinch and Memory.” She said, “I was quickly captivated by the slow, meditative process of working weft through warp, row by row, the friendly feel of wool in the hand and the seemingly endless variations of color.”

Alex George Sullivan was born and raised in the Texas Panhandle.  After practicing orthodontics for 21 years he moved to Taos in 1994 to study weaving at the Taos Institute of the Arts.

Nancy Ullmann took her first weaving class in 1982 and “was intrigued and challenged by the opportunity to create cloth in colors (she0 had chosen.” She is now interested in silk painting and has taken classes through the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center.

In the Portal Gallery, Fran Stovall will show new works in two mediums: pastels and mosaics.

The Art Center, at 2132 Central Avenue, is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. For more information, call 662-9331. Visit www.artfulnm.org/EVFAC  to view works from this exhibit.

Nancy Coombs, communications coordinator at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge, contributed to this story.