News & Notes from Cameron

Textile Sightings/Guatemala - October 2014

Guatemala is a textile lover's paradise. We spent our time in Antigua and Lake Atitlan, where we took a brief hike to see wonderful Mayan carvings nestled amongst coffee plants.

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Fiber Friends - September 2014

The Textile Society of America Conference inspired several fiber events throughout Los Angeles. The conference itself attracted textile aficionados from around the world, and several venues were right in my neighborhood!  Later in the month I hosted a gathering of the Surface Design Association here at ARTSgarage  It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other and discuss our work. A lecture by Carrie Burckle and Ashley Blalock at the Craft in America Center made the day complete!

 

Photos, left to right: 

TSA conference with Meredith Strauss, Mary Beth Schwartzenberger shows her work at ARTSgarage, Carrie Burckle at Craft in America Center.

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Red, Green or Christmas - August 2014

While in Santa Fe for the Chamber Music Festival, we managed to eat lots of fabulous New Mexican food made with the green and red chiles unique to the region. "Red, green or Christmas?" I still don't have the answer. Maybe this article 25 Food Things Only a New Mexican Would Understand  will help.


While pondering this eternal question, we wandered through several exhibits. William Siegal Gallery    had a stunning collection of 18th century Aymara ponchos. The weaver in me wanted some detail shots, and I graciously was given permission to take them.

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The paintings of Emmi Whitehorse at Chiaroscuro   "tell the story of knowing land over time." Everett Cole at Chiaroscuro told me that as a child, Emmi Whitehorse gathered dye plants for her mother and grandmother, who were traditional Navajo weavers, and that this childhood experience continues to inform her work. "I am defining a particular space...the intricate language of symbols refers to specific plants, people and experiences."
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Ceramics are well-represented all along Canyon Road. Lyn Fox at Lyn A. Fox Fine Pueblo Pottery   was particularly generous with his time. He is clearly an educator as well as a dealer, and has many short videos on his website that are engaging and informative. We also enjoyed contemporary pottery by Zuni artist Alan Lasiloo at Robert Nichols Gallery   and were fortunate to meet him and see a demonstration of his techniques.
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Ruth Asawa and the Crochet Problem - July 2014

On a recent visit to the de Young Museum, we viewed Lines on the Horizon, a stunning collection of Navajo weavings, and then headed to the observation tower for a view of San Francisco. The entry area at the base of the tower was filled with the ethereal work of Ruth Asawa. The interplay of light and shadow on these pieces was magical, and the unexpected way we experienced the works made them more so.

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I went to the museum's website to find out what they had to say about Asawa and encountered the curious rhetoric of the fine art world when it comes to any discussion of craft technique. They call Asawa a "modernist sculptor of abstract forms" and her pieces are referred to as "wire constructions" and "wire sculptures." Come on, spit it out, these pieces are crocheted. Her own website calls these works crocheted wire sculpture. What's wrong with that description? The issue is, ahem, crochet is a "craft" technique, and therefore not to be mentioned in a fine art context. Here is a quote from the de Young press release on her 2006-7 retrospective, in which they explain the problem and yet today continue to be a part of it with their reluctance to use the "c-word"  to decribe a technique that Asawa herself embraced. 

...today considered a San Francisco treasure, Asawa has been under-represented by most art history surveys of 20th-century sculpture. "Because her work uses nontraditional materials and a manual method that appears related to knitting, weaving and craft, it is often overlooked in discussions of modernist sculpture," says Dr. Cornell, Director of Contemporary Art Projects and Curator of American Art.

The Textile Trail/New York - June 2014

As an ardent hunter/gatherer of all things cloth, I searched out and stumbled upon some great finds in a recent trip to New York.

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I finally made it to the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn and was shown around by summer intern Callie Shea, a senior from the Savannah College of Art and Design. This place is buzzing with activity, and "aspires to unify and empower the textile community, and advocate for the handmade." Later in the day, I re-discovered Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum. I had completely forgotten how much beautiful needlework is integrated into each place setting.

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Another day my children and I ventured out to the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. What an impressive organization "working to improve the way America eats and farms." Plus they had a great printed hand towel, a collection of kahdi dishcloths and a big weaving in the woods!