Artists whose mediums include fabric and yarn will demonstrate their techniques and showcase their work at the 17th Annual Fine Art of Fiber Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Nov. 7-10.
The show is sponsored by the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, Illinois Quilters, Inc. and the Weavers Guild of the North Shore.
“Each guild sends a chair or two to work on the show,” said Gale Wessel, event chairman from the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild. This is the only show in which Wessel’s group participates.
“We’re not juried,” Wessel reported, noting that members of her organization decide the priorities of their pieces. “We get all the number one priorities in,” she said. “From there on, it’s a space issue.”
This year, the three guilds combined submitted 180 pieces. All are being displayed except eight pieces that were too large to include. The selection includes quilts, weavings, feltings, jewelry, knit hats and purses. “Whatever you can think of that you can make with a needle and thread or a loom,” Wessel noted.
There’s also a wide variety of designs represented. “We have everything from traditional work through experimental or artistic work,” Wessel said. One of the most unusual pieces is a “cascade of corks.”
Women’s Journey in Fiber is presenting an exhibit called Par-a-Digm Shift.
Some of the work is for sale; other pieces are for display only.
A variety of demonstrations will be held over the weekend. “The weavers have a woman who teaches weaving,” Wessel related. “She originally designed this for children but all these older women want to weave. We almost have to move them out of the booth to get some spots for the kids!”
There will also be demonstrations of working in lace, macramé, beading, spinning, knitting, bead crocheting and embroidery, as well as in keeping a fabric journal and landscaping with yo-yos.
Friday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. Debby Danford-Wada of Kasuri Dyeworks, a major importer of Japanese fabrics, will speak about Japanese weaving and dyeing techniques.
“It’s basically an introduction to what Japanese traditional textiles are,” Danford-Wada said. She is also displaying three garments that she made.
“Most people don’t understand why the fabrics are so narrow,” Danford-Wada said. “I start out explaining how a kimono is made and then I go through the different techniques, whether it’s the cottons or the silks and the dyeing or weaving process. They’re all made by hand. I pass out some examples to show the different techniques.”
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, Mary Carmen Olvera Trejo from Cuetzalan, Mexico, will show examples of that region’s weaving and embroidery and discuss the symbolism of the designs. “She came here last year as a guest,” Wessel recalled. “She had on an embroidered blouse, a wool woven skirt and big blue hair — this wig made of yarn. So she really stood out.”
There will be fashion shows at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9. “Those garments are always for sale,” Wessel said.