Symposium Exhibition: Indigo and Beyond

Cultural Arts Gallery, 9 W. Henry St.


knudson_making_the_transitionCurated by Catherine Ellis

Exhibiting Artists: Angelina DeAntonis, Catharine Ellis, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Bethanne Knudson, Joan Morris, Elin Noble, Eduardo and Maria Portillo, Amy Putansu, Jay Rich, Rowland Ricketts, Chimani Ricketts, Barbara Shapiro, Amanda Thatch, Yoshiko Wada, and Barbara Zaretsky

Indigo was an important part of agriculture, trade, and the economy, in the United States’ southeast coastal region in the 18th century. Indigo is essential for contemporary textile artists working with natural dyes, and has been since the 1960s. The recent revival of fermenting indigo dye vats has made the dye process more eco-friendly. The proposed exhibition will focus on artists working with indigo in conjunction with other natural dyes, reflecting the active global influence on dyes and dyeing.

The core group of artists in this exhibition has been meeting on an annual basis for the last several years in order to study natural dye processes and the applications to our work. The focus has been on learning the best practices in order to obtain colors and fastness suitable for artwork. This exploration has been in the spirit of shared research and learning in order to further the use of natural dyes for us and other artists. This exhibition will include additional artists who have been committed to the use of natural dyes in their practice.

Curator Catharine Ellis has been a weaver, dyer, and teacher for over 40 years. She now concentrates on studio work focused on the detailed investigation of natural dyes, and on selective teaching in venues across the US and around the world. A new edition of her book, Woven Shibori (Interweave Press), was released in 2016, which addresses the use of natural dyes with woven shibori. Her work has been widely shown in exhibitions worldwide. She recently completed a residency at the JinZe Art Center in Shanghai, China, focusing on the study of woven tubu fabrics.

Angelina DeAntonis is an internationally recognized textile and fashion designer. She began on a family sheep farm, traveled to India to study natural dyes, and then worked in the San Francisco Bay area as a costume designer. Ocelot, her independent clothing company, was founded in 1998 and is driven by a desire to create comfortable and unique clothing paired with her unusual sensibility for color. The San Francisco studio includes the dye-works, pattern-making and sewing areas, office, and showroom is continually evolving as a center for textile exhibits and workshops.

Maria Eugenia Dávila and Eduardo Portillo of Merida Venezuela have been devoted to the silk world, fibers and natural dyes since 1983. They have studied sericulture and weaving in China and India. Their work is driven by relationship with surroundings and communication within a contemporary textile language. Recent exhibitions, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture, Then and Now, Browngrotta Arts, Wilton, USA, 2015; New Territories; Museum of Art and Design, New York. USA, 2014; Symposium Textile Society of America. Los Angeles, USA, 2014; Longhouse Reserve.,East Hampton, NY. USA, 2013; Azul Indigo, Blue, Textile Museum, Washington DC, USA, 2008.

Sara Goodman is a textile artist with a lifelong interest in the resist dyeing techniques of ikat and shibori. She has traveled extensively in order to experience these traditional textiles first hand. Sara is a former member of the board of directors of GoodWeave, a connection that led her to design a line of hand-woven pile carpets derived from her own shibori textiles. Sara is committed to using only natural dyes in her work and has devoted herself to developing a full, rich color palette, using only mordants and dyes that are derived from natural materials.

Ana Lisa Hedstrom’s signature shibori textiles are included in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, The Museum of Art and Design, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the De Young Museum, the Oakland Museum, and the Racine Museum. She has completed public art commissions for the Emeryville, CA, city hall and the American Embassy in Brunei. Recent exhibitions include: The Box Project, The Cotsen Collection, Focus: Fiber 2016; Quilt Visions 2016; Quilt National, 2015; Materials Hard and Soft, Denton, TX, 2014; ISS international, Hangzhou, China, 2014. She has received two NEA grants and is a fellow of the American Craft Council.

Bethanne Knudson completed her BFA in fiber at the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA in textiles from the University of Kansas. In 2000, Bethanne founded The Jacquard Center, a training retreat for Jacquard Studies.  From 2000 to 2012, the Jacquard Center offered classes that provided access to weaving on Jacquard-controlled industrial power looms. In 2005, with Stephan Michelson, Bethanne started The Oriole Mill, which produces its own line of high-end, fabrics and finished products for the home and the body. She now designs the fabrics and directs product development for The Oriole Mill.

Joan Morris began making shaped-resist dyed textiles in 1983 and her work as master-dyer for the Theater Department at Dartmouth College. In 1997 she designed the textiles for a scene in Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King”.  Since then she has fabricated the textiles for its Broadway, international and road productions.   In 2007 she and co-inventor, M. Ratté, were granted the US patent for their unique printing process, which allows for an articulately printed, washable deposit of gold and other metals on textiles. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.  She maintains a studio in Vermont.

Elin Noble has spent more than 30 years investigating traditional and contemporary dye techniques, focusing in particular on Japanese itajime shibori (clamp-dye resist). She is the author of Dyes & Paints: A Hands-On Guide to Coloring Fabric and has lectured and conducted workshops across North America and internationally, most recently in Tilburg, Netherlands, Budapest, Hungary, and Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. Elin Noble has exhibited widely including: the Schweinfurth Art Center, New York; New Bedford Art Museum, Massachusetts; The Textile Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Visions Art Museum, California; and the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, Washington.

Amy Putansu was born and raised in the northern fishing village of Clark Island, Maine. Amy’s childhood along the rocky coast shaped her sense of place: a sparseness of landscape, seafaring culture, and ethics of manual work. After earning her BFA at Rhode Island School of Design Amy has not wavered from work in textiles and weaving. She received high praise for her work in woven wearables. In 2008 Amy became a full time teacher in western North Carolina where she also maintains her studio practice. In 2015 her woven ondulé panel Diptych was acquired by the National Silk Museum of China.

Jay Rich’s textile education has been informal beginning in childhood with family members. North Dakota winters were cold and textile handwork was a frequent indoor activity. A science and gardening background have helped more recent exploration of natural dyes, indigo, dye plant production and eco-friendly dye processes. He is interested in the intersection of dye, medicine and food production within the plant world. Jay’s approach to textile design is initially historical review, then scientific exploration, and finally becomes highly intuitive.

Chinami Ricketts weaves cotton kasuri (ikat) kimono and obi yardage patterned with designs inspired by historical weavings from around the world. Initially trained in indigo dyeing in her native home of Tokushima, Chinami apprenticed with master kasuri weaver Yumie Aoto in Shimane before moving to the US in 2003. As she weaves, she takes into consideration the final design of the kimono as well as the functionality and comfort of the cloth, envisioning the fabrics coming to life when worn.

Rowland Ricketts utilizes natural dyes and historical processes to create contemporary textiles that span art and design. Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, Rowland received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005 and is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Indiana University. His work has been exhibited at Cavin-Morris Gallery, Douglas Dawson Gallery, the Textile Museum (Washington, DC), and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Rowland is a recipient of a 2012 United States Artists Fellowship and a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Award.

Barbara Shapiro is a weaver, dyer and basket maker with over four decades of experience.  Her work is widely exhibited and published and she is committed to education and teaching. Barbara is a past Board Member of the Textile Society of America and an advisor to the Textile Arts Council of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Experimentation with natural indigo and other natural dyes has informed much of her work. She has devoted the last 15 years of her art practice to basketry, working in both coiling and plaiting often with indigo dyed elements.

Amanda Thatch received her BFA in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis, and has spent time as a resident artist at Art Farm in Nebraska, an intern at Women’s Studio Workshop, New York, an Allesee Fellow aboard Artrain USA, and a Core Fellow at Penland School of Crafts. She is currently the Studio Coordinator for Textiles and Drawing/Painting at Penland School of Crafts. Her work has been shown at the Sheldon Art Gallery in Lincoln, NE, Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD, and Studio Fusion Gallery in London, England, among others.

Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada is an artist, curator, and scholar. She is president of the World Shibori Network, founder of Slow Fiber Studios, producer of the Natural Dye Workshop film series, and co-chair of the 10th International Shibori Symposium (10iss) in Oaxaca, Mexico. She has authored and co-authored Kimono Inspiration, Art to Wear in America, Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now, and Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped-Resist Dyeing, amongst others. In 2010, Yoshiko Wada was titled as a “Distinguished Craft Educator – Master of Medium” by the James Renwick Alliance.

Barbara Zaretsky creates handcrafted decorative textiles for home and wardrobe. Her plant-based dyes impart a distinctive earthy palette, yet her motifs veer toward the modern. A textile artist and the director of Cloth Fiber Workshop in Asheville, NC, Barbara is originally from the Chicago area. She studied textile design and art history at Northern Illinois University, the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Illinois, and Penland School of Crafts. Barbara has many pieces in private collections across the US and abroad and her work appears in numerous publications.

All exhibitions have been organized in partnership with Art Rise Savannah

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