Happy Spring Session!

Hello Textiles Department!

Our Spring session has officially begun! Classes start this week and open studio will begin on Monday, April 9th. Please remember that there are frequently workshops or private events in the studio, so it’s always a good idea to check here on the blog before you head in.

See you in the studio!

-Nora

Open Studio Closures!

Hi All! We’ve got a couple of changes to open studio coming up in the next couple of weeks. Please review these and make sure to plan accordingly. Thanks!

Saturday, March 10th. Open Studio in the Print Room will start at 3:30pm due to a make-up class scheduled in the space. Open Studio in the Sewing Room will not be effected.

Monday, March 12 – Friday, March 16. There will be NO OPEN STUDIO IN EITHER ROOM between 10am and 3pm this week. All Open Studio shifts scheduled after 3pm will not be effected.

Sunday, March 18th. Open Studio in the Print Room will be closed between 1:30pm and 5:30pm due to a private party. The studio will still be open to students between 10am-1:30pm and 5:30-9:30pm.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience!!

#LillstreetHoopDreams

Hey Everyone!!

So, as some of you might have seen, I’m currently curating a show for the Lillstreet Gallery that’s all about embroidery and… Instagram. That’s right! Embroidery and Instagram might not seem like they have that much in common but I’ve actually found that their overlaps are very interesting. In order to explain my thoughts and, hopefully, answer some questions, here’s a little q&a. You can take as much or as little time with this post as you’d like. Curious about my thought process? Get comfy and read through! Have specific questions pertaining to entering a piece? Scroll through the questions to see if I’ve answered yours. If I haven’t, feel free to shoot me a DM at @fiberistanora or @lillstreetgallery or an email at nora@lillstreet.com.

CALL FOR ENTRIES

Calling all Embroiderers! We are formally announcing our #LillstreetHoopDreams CALL FOR ENTRY! The #LillstreetHoopDreams exhibition will be June 1 – July 7, 2018. The deadline for submission is March 16. Accepted artists will be notified via Instagram by March 23. Tag your submissions with #LillstreetHoopDreams to enter your piece(s) for consideration. Please share/repost this post for all to see. DM for questions or send an email to nora@lillstreet.com.

  • Work must be fully completed: photos of in-process work will not be eligible. Work must arrive ready to hang.
  • All topics, themes, styles and materials will be considered.
  • The work does not need to be ALL embroidery but stitching must be a significant element of the piece.
  • All work must be for sale. Lillstreet Gallery offers a 50/50 commission.
  • Artists may submit as many pieces as they wish. Multiple pieces from individual artists may be selected.
  • Only original artworks will be selected; please do not submit work made using a kit or pre-bought pattern.
  • US only, please.

Curator’s Statement:

Instagram is an immediate, widely accessible platform allowing artists to connect globally, learn techniques and find inspiration. Similarly, the economical cost and portability of embroidery materials appeal to a diverse set of makers. By its very nature, stitching is a medium that encourages connectivity and transcends boundaries. For these reasons and more, Instagram hosts a rich community of embroiderers — a modern application becoming the perfect home for an ancient craft. Curated by Lillstreet Textiles Department Director, Nora Renick Rinehart, #LillstreetHoopDreams will feature a selection of artists brought together by a world-wide-web of threads.

Why are you interested in Embroidery? And why have you chosen Instagram as your platform?

I think there is an embroidery revolution happening on Instagram right now. 

First of all, Instagram is free*. It’s immediate. It’s literally in the palm of our hands any time, any place. Gone are the days when you’d have to go to a museum or gallery to see art – now we can access whole worlds of images at the touch of a button. And that accessibility – the wildfire spreading of inspiration – is breaking down the barriers for participation and access. Second, we’re communicating globally instead of being limited by our geographic locations. Every day I get to see work by artists in Russia, Japan, the UK and New Zealand. When our languages don’t match, we have a convenient *see translation* option. I mean, really. What a time to be alive. And third, Instagram is different from professional websites which are clean and curated. Instead, we see the evolution of individual pieces and whole bodies of work. Not only that, but the artists become human – we get to see their pets, their spaces, their significant others and their non-art interests. Art doesn’t happen in a vacuum and admitting that publicly a shift in traditional thinking.

In so many ways, embroidery is *like* Instagram. It’s accessible: the materials are cheap, portable and the stitches are easy to learn. It’s a media that requires little-to-no official training, and can be widely applied. Want to embellish a garment? Make a patch? Create an ornate and intricately worked composition meant to hang on the wall (aka ART)? All of these are great options. Embroidery is as much about process as it is about the final object. You could create this design digitally or with markers or paint, but embroiderers have specifically chosen to render their designs with thread. That decision may mean something different to every artist but in every case it is intentional and important. And it’s communal. Short “how-to” videos of stitch techniques and conversations about creative decisions are widely shared. Some artists are even making money (gasp!) out of their practice: by selling their work or designing patterns for others to follow and they are successful because of the support by their followers.

Here are these artists – some of them self taught, others classically trained – and they’re making work that just… blows me away. They’re referring to art history and cultural heritages; they’re thinking outside the hoop and integrating alternative materials; they’re addressing politics and gender stereoptypes or simply expressing the joy felt in the act of creating. And they’re all using tags to communicate. So when I started brainstorming about how and what I wanted to curate next… it seemed too good to pass up.

(*I do want to acknowledge that, while Instagram may be a free app, the technology with which to use it is not. There are a lot of artists all over the world who cannot afford smartphones. While I wish I could offer a platform that was truly available to all, my goal was to at least create a free call-for-entry which, I think, are unfortunately infrequent these days.)

What the heck do you mean by “tag to submit”? And why?

Most gallery shows are put together by invitation or through a call for entry which frequently costs money. Because it fits so well with my concept for the show (community through the connectivity of the internet) we’re using a tag submission. All you have to do is post a photo to Instagram and tag it with #LillstreetHoopDreams by March 16th. Boom! Submitted! After that date, a jury of Lillstreet Gallery and Lillstreet Textiles Department staff will comb through the tag and look at all the work. Selected artists will be contacted via Instagram DM by March 23.

So… exactly what kind of work are you looking for?

We’re hoping to collect a group of pieces that reflect the broad range of ideas, images and techniques that are shared on instagram every day. That might sound vague but we’re really thinking about it as “open to interpretation.”

Is there a size limit for submitted work?

Nope! I figured the laborious nature of embroidery would end up limiting finished size on it’s own, AMIRITE? (If you have a question about a particular piece, feel free to send me an email or DM.)

Does the work need to displayed in a hoop?

Absolutely not! The only request we have is that the work arrive ready to hang which may end up determining what kind of pieces we’re able to select. Do you stitch onto paper? Awesome! The work would have to arrive framed or with hanging magnets. Do you stitch onto clothes? So cool! This work would have to arrive with some kind of hanging device like a (really nice) clothes hanger and knob or something similar. Have a scenario we haven’t thought of? Tag a photo with #LillstreetHoopDreams just in case. You can also DM @lillstreetgallery or email nora@lillstreet.com.

How many pieces/artists will you be selecting?

That will depend greatly on the kinds of submissions we receive. Our main goal is to create the best show possible which means finding work that not only achieves our conceptual goals but also talks with each other. (But probably somewhere between 10 and 20 pieces/artists.)

Why US only?

You guys, this one kills me but it really comes down to logistics. International shipping can be a nerve-wracking thing: between the price and the threat of customs delays we just can’t justify it. But all you non-US insta-embroiders are phenomenal, too!!

-Nora Renick Rinehart

@fiberistanora

nora@lillstreet.com

Rachel Davis at the Half-Way Point

(Rachel Davis, is officially half way through her residency for the Lillstreet Textiles Department! Here are some of her thoughts about the past six months and a little look into what she’s been working on.)

Pollen, Leaves, Seeds and Trees

There are many wonderful upsides to being an Artist-in-Residence at Lillstreet Art Center (LAC). In addition to having 24-hour access to the silkscreen and sewing studios, which includes space to create, display and store my work, I can take classes for free at LAC in any department. Though I have yet to take any classes outside of the Textiles department, I have had a full schedule taking classes in sewing, dye and print techniques. The faculty are thoughtful, talented professionals from diverse backgrounds and the ongoing dialogue with this community has contributed to my growth as an artist.

I’ve spent the past six months thinking of my time as an artist-in-residence in the Textiles department as very similar to traveling abroad. I’m a bit out of my comfort zone, and the languages related to the media and methods are different from what I am used to. Sometimes I act like I know where I am and sometimes I really do know where I am. 

I began my studio work creating leaf-shaped quilts and playing with the formal aspects of the top and underside surfaces of leaves. I am interested in galls that form on leaves and the differences in their color and texture.

Sewing instructor Nico Gardner introduced me to The Art of Manipulating Fabric written by Colette Wolff. Though I have barely scratched the surface of mastering these sewing skills I was taken with the black and white photos that described completed pleats, godets, puffs, flounce and smocking and wondered how I can incorporate these forms and techniques into the textile pieces I am creating. I began sewing on large-scale, full sheets and then had to step back and try some more modest pieces, so that I could better see my progress

My exploration of dye techniques on cotton/silk blends, mostly scarves, use dye to draw and paint textures and patterns to work out compositions for larger pieces.  I’ve explored printing thinned dye on wet fabric and printing from carved styrofoam blocks to create surface design patterns.

These new surface design patterns into are incorporated into three-dimensional objects. The designs are cut and sewn to create re-imagined pollen grains. 

I have taken two classes with LAC faculty Akemi Cohn, Indigo dye with Katazome and Indigo dye and Boro stitching. Akemi is an excellent instructor and I have learned both about the historical and cultural aspects of indigo as well as the artistic processes. One of the joys of taking Akemi’s courses is having a front row seat to the incredible samples and completed pieces she shares with her students. 

When I travel abroad I am constantly noticing similarities and differences while I navigate a new place: the palette, the architecture, texture, smells and sounds. I can’t help but feel humbled by what I don’t know. In this new terrain of textiles, I am struck often by all I have learned in such a short amount of time.

The other day, while I was salivating over textiles at Oak Fabrics, the owner shared the name of the designer of these textiles, Kaffe Fassett. I had never heard of Fassett. The shot cotton textiles that I am especially smitten with, combine two different colored threads and have a depth and richness that reminds me of painted surfaces. I plan to use these fabrics as color fields in future quilts.

(Want to take a class with Rachel? Our spring session is now LIVE on the web! And make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with all the department happenings!) 

Open Studio Closure! Sat, Feb 17

Please be advised of the following changes to our Open Studio schedule:

  • There will be no Open Studio in the print room on Saturday, February 17th because of a private event. Open Studio in the sewing room will continue as planned. 

We apologize for any inconvenience!