Archives for the month of: June, 2016

Focus: Fiber 2016 Lecture by Jane Sauer, Fiber Artist and Gallery Owner.

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to Ohio to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art, to attend the lecture by Jane Sauer as part of the Focus : Fiber 2016 Exhibition, a National Contemporary Fiber Art Show coordinated by the Textile Art Alliance, Cleveland Museum of Art and hosted by Kent State University Museum.

This was my first visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art and it has just had an eight year, $350 million renovation and expansion which was completed in 2013 and well worth the wait. A beautiful and inspirational institution full of world class art, well worth another visit.

“Fictional Fabrics” with Jane Sauer. A thought provoking summary of an art gallery director’s experience selling fiber arts in a Fine Art Gallery

Sauer’s  talk was based on her 20 years plus experience as a Gallery owner and director, in Santa Fe, NM. She started the lecture by referring to Fine Artists who use textiles as their medium for expression and asked:-why were these artists not called Fiber Artists? She gave as examples-El Anatsui, whose enormous woven pieces resemble kente cloths, Magdelena Abakonowicz who is known for her huge felted pieces, and Christo and Jean -Claude, whose thousands of yards of fabric wrapped the Reichstag (“Wrapped Riechstag” ) These artists use textiles and fibers as their medium, and are known as Fine Artists. Sauer then talked about the artists she has represented in her gallery and how the use of textile fibers and materials has changed over the 20 years.

Sauer described:

  • An artist from Australia who weaves strips of patterned glass into pieces that look like kente cloth and has since created glass that looks like lace.
  • An artist who makes small circular hollow glass forms, which are tie together with wire and  hangs on the wall like a hanging-but it is in fact, very heavy and unable to drape.
  • An artist who carves out intricate designs with a laser on circular 5′ x 5′ wide pieces of wood that mimic crocheted doilies
  • A potter creates a form that looks like wrapped fabric covering objects while other potters mimic a batik surface and other textile processes to give the illusion of a fabric
  • A potter weaves with small clay pieces to form the look of ancient baskets while still remaining a ceramic form.
  • An artist has a commission where she proposed wrapping and coiling 1000 birds. After making the initial bird, she decided to cast the bird in clay instead, while keeping the “marks” of the coiled textile forms to represent the textile surface.

In answer to  questions from the floor about being recognized as a fiber artist,  Sauer encouraged fiber artists to be open to move in new directions. She admitted that fiber art and textiles are still not regarded in the same way as Fine Art, and that buyers needed to be educated more about fiber arts. One of the major concerns was about the longevity of textile and fiber pieces. As Sauer points out-paintings are made on a canvas which is a fabric! (It hasn’t stopped anyone so far from  investing in a Picasso, Van Gough or Titian !)

Questions, questions, questions!

As an artist and fiber artist, this lecture raised so many questions ! It was a fascinating and insightful presentation. It really cuts to the definition of what textile and fiber art IS and it also questions the function of the textile and the underlying philosophy of- why did you create this and for what reason? In the examples of art that Sauer gave, it appears that the textile form/structure/ surface  was used as a reference to a textile to conjure up associations with that textile form-while creating a form that may have the completely opposite attributes. For example, the 5′ x 5′ wooden doilies-really gorgeous pieces- had an extra  “punch” that would not have been there, if you did not recognize that the form was referring to a small, soft, hand crocheted or knit doily which in turn could be associated with – the past, old traditions, family members that knitted or crocheted.. and so forth. If you looked at the pieces and just saw an intricately patterned  wooded circle- it would have lost most of it’s meaning, other than being decorative and a pleasing pattern. And part of the response is due to the juxtaposition of the large, hard, unyielding wooden form in contrast to the small and delicate textile that was the source of the wooden form. So other than “Wow, that’s an interesting juxtaposition!” is the piece saying anything else? Well. Yes. It works better, as in so many things,  if you know and recognize the associations and realize that the doily is a cultural object, and being presented in such a way as to question your perception of the object and it’s meaning to you. Many of the art pieces in this presentation challenged your perception of what you were looking at by using textile references ( soft, draping, floating, interlaced) with objects that were the exact opposite of what was represented. The most interesting and intriguing part of the presentation was that there were very few actual fiber/fabric pieces, with the majority being in glass, clay and wood.


I welcome any comments about  the place of fibers and textiles in our society, our culture, in the art world and in the world today!

What is textile and fiber art ? What is its purpose? What is the philosophical intent? Which direction are we going in? Are textiles for textiles sake gone?


I apologize for not having the names or images of the artists from the presentation- I did not have a notebook or pen- or this may have been a much longer piece!













Preparations for the BRBs Runway Barbie Challenge

There were lots of trials before the showdown…and having Fiona as a competitor meant we had to censor Barbie’s attire to have a PG rating.

looking stylish!




Raspberry Sorbet Barbie-layers of fabrics, patterns, flowers and topped with a pink sock hat-well done Fiona!


Barbie on the bar-bee -Aussie Barbie sizzles in a saucy hat and cowboy boots getting ready to barbecue

Hail to the SHE

Hail to the SHE- the first presidential Barbie dressed for her inaugural ball: this gal has a whole wardrobe ready for every occassion


Tina-Sheena Barbie channeling the 80’s with highlights , tie dye top and animal print skirt..GRRRR!


These boots for made for walking!Party Rock Barbie is in the building


‘Summer fun’ Barbie- classic and classy style but somehow has lost her shoes and is unable to stand up unaided


Bo Ho Moma in psychedelic leggings and graphic print sock top with an unfortunate hand salute


Blossom Barbie-better known as exhibitionist Barbie with very tasteful see-thru dress


belly dancer close up

The BRBs would like to extend the Barbie Runway Challenge to all who would like to join us! Send your images to studiotempera to be featured in the Barbie Challenge Gallery



The BRB  Annual Weekend Mountain Retreat June 11-12th , 2016

For the past five years, the BRBs (Blue Ridge Babes) have gathered together at Mark’s Mountain House off the Blue Ridge Parkway for a weekend of creating art while enjoying music, wine, food and good company.

This year, our latest BRB member (Fiona, 7 years old)) has proposed a bodacious challenge for the group:

She plans to bring a Barbie doll for each member and wants the BRB’s to compete with each other to design the most bold and outrageous Barbie outfit ever.

This made me think of the last time I had seen Barbie and her partner in crime, Ken. It was in April this year. They were standing guard over the bathrooms in a café beside Ballachuilish, in Scotland.


Barbie for the LADIES facilities


Ken for the MENS facilities

I did notice that Barbie’s halter neck top was around her neck like a noose, hanging from the door whereas Ken was hanging onto the door by the collar of his pilot uniform. Not quite as life threatening. And slightly more dignified.

Was this extraordinarily prescient of the upcoming debacle of House Bill 2 NC?







Reconquering Burgundy, resurrecting Charles the Bold

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Photography Art Plus

Photography, Animals, Flowers, Nature, Sky

Fibre art by Jean Ottosen

NC Alternative Crops and Organics

art in fibers and fabric

around the garden

art in fibers and fabric


art in fibers and fabric