Exhibit shows a different side to a quilt

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“It’s Wild!” will run through May 29

By Kirsten Laskey

Sometimes quilting get misrepsented and misunderstood. People see it as a mere craft; it’s just producing another blanket to throw over yourself when the temperature drops.

The current exhibit at Mesa Public Library, titled, “It’s Wild!” will show viewers a another side to a quilt.

Exhibitors are a members of the New Mexico Art Quilters group,  which is affiliated with the Studio Art Quilters Association.  They are award-winning artists who show their work nationally and sometimes internationally.

Jeri Beitel is one of the members. She explained the group’s mission is to mainly show ourselves as artists and show quilts  as a real art and not as a craft.

She explained the fabric is manipulated and most of it is hand-dyed, handpainted  and stitched to create an art piece.

Another member, Patricia Gould, agreed. “What we are showing is not simply just a craft … the art quilt is kind of  a combination of elements of both paiting and sculpture in that its textural, it’s not a flat surface,” she said. “You have elements of fine art — light, shadow, color, line, but you also get the skill of working with the fabric.”

Gould added, “We just happen to use fabric to express ourselves.”

Plus, “I think beyond just

enlightening people as far as what art quilts are, I think the work we are showing also encourages people to look at what the artists are saying,” she said.

In the library’s show, participants are using a multitude of ways to express themselves. The exhibit features artworks that express experiences of untamed scenery, flora and fauna that range from realistic to abstract.

Beitel commented the New Mexico Art Quilters group is pleased to be showing their work in the library.

“It’s quite a nice venue,” she said. “It’s very spacious.”

Gould said, “It’s really a pretty space. We like showing our work in Los Alamos and it’s just a very, very pretty space … it shows off their work very well.”

Both quilters encourage the public to come and view the work.

“If you haven’t seen art quilts I think it would be very educational,” Beitel said.

Gould added, “I think it is really a good educational thing, not just for kids but for everybody to come and see how artists relate to the world around them.”

An opportunity to view the quilts is approaching. A reception and meet-the-artists will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the library’s upstairs gallery.

The exhibit will be at the library through May 29.