Marbled, dyed and block-printed silk by Shira Singer. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Fiber art is unifying thread in library show 

NORTHEAST HARBOR — Have you been feeling rather sluggish lately? Not quite yourself? A little out of sorts? 

Maybe all you need is some fiber. If so, the Northeast Harbor Library can help. 

Throughout the month of March, the library is featuring an exhibit in the Mellon Room titled Local Fiber. It showcases the work of 10 artists 

“Each one represents a different aspect of textile art,” said Judith Blank, a rug weaver who organized the exhibit. “None of these artists are beginners; they are all advanced in their work. 

“I want people to appreciate what good artists we have living among us.” 

Blank follows the Swedish and Norwegian tradition of rug weaving. 

“For me, it’s all about color and texture, arranging materials side by side and seeing their interaction,” she said. “Sometimes it feels like I’m weaving family stories, people’s history.” 

Barbara Andrus is the only one of the 10 featured artists who doesn’t live on Mount Desert Island; she is a summer resident of Swan’s Island. 

“She knits all the time, and she is a really fancy installation artist,” Blank said of Andrus. “Most of the pieces in the exhibit are on the walls, but she is doing an installation hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room.” 

Judith Burger-Gossart does rug hooking. 

“Once I have an idea for a rug design, I draw a pattern on paper, then transfer that pattern to a background cloth,” she explained. 

“Using spaghetti-type strips of cut fabric, one by one I pull them through the background cloth, making loops until a strip is used up. As the loops progress, the pattern emerges. 

Kate Russell Henry is a hand spinner of art yarn, which she uses to create crocheted, stitched, woven sculptures or paper assemblages. 

Laney Lloyd fell in love with weaving in the 1970s when she was a stay-at-home mom. 

Over the years I have acquired more sophisticated looms and now weave on a 16-harness, computerized loom,” she said. “This gives me infinite possibilities to create patterns using the interplay of color and structure. I become enchanted with the patterns that emerge. 

Kathe McDonald said she has been a fiber artist most of her adult life. 

“While working as a weaver, print maker or photographer there has always been thread involved,” she said. “Now, I mostly stick with quilting, doing wall hangings, bed quilts for family and friends as well as quilts for various charities.” 

Leanne Nickon, another of the artists featured in the Local Fiber exhibit, is a stitcher. 

I love the simplicity of using minimal supplies – scissors, thread, embroidery floss, fabric scraps and found materials – to create images and designs,” she said. “I like working spontaneously, making up the image as I go, and I find the process meditative, fun and addictive.” 

Fiber and paper mache artist Jeanne Seronde Perkins.

Jeanne Seronde Perkins is a fiber and paper mache artist. She said of her work, “I’ve been recycling paper collages, torn cloth and hand-colored yarns to shape into creatures of various sorts – primarily fish right now.” 

Shira Singer’s father was a U.S. Army chaplain stationed on Okinawa in the 1950s. She recently discovered letters he received from servicemen’s family members who, she said, “were worried about their sons, brothers, nephews and wrote to my father, seeking his help and counsel.” 

She also has handkerchiefs that her fathered acquired in Okinawa and had monogrammed with his initials. Onto these, Singer has embroidered excerpts from some of the letters he exchanged with servicemen and their families. 

They have been resist dyed using the indigo plants that my husband grew in our garden last summer,” she said.  

Sculptor Melita Westerlund said that some years ago, “I encountered a material that turned out to be made of ground up blue jeans…and I wondered how I could form it into art. The early pieces reminded me of the coral in the Caribbean. 

“I found a way to express my concern over the degradation of the marine coral by making sculpture that reminds people of the destruction that happens beyond the surface.” 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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