Quilts, Textiles & Fiber Arts Quilts, Textiles & Fibers is a three-gallery exhibition contrasting the traditional art of quilt making with modern textiles and fiber arts. Dozens of traditional geometric quilts from the Museum’s Permanent and Education Collections and more will be on display from January 14 through May 18, 2014 (Note: The “Quilts” will be on display through May 11).

Featured will be the free motion embroidery textile work of UGA Assistant Professor Jennifer Crenshaw, plus a large-scale contemporary installation by nationally recognized fiber artist Judy Bales and the folk art story-telling quilts of local favorite Wini McQueen.

The general public was invited to join artist Judy Bales during Museum hours from Tuesday through Friday, January 14-17, as she created her work using fibers and textiles from YKK.

A special “Meet the Artist” Lunch and Learn lecture was given by Judy Bales, who spoke about her installation at the Museum and other works, on Thursday, January 16, in the auditorium at noon (click here for more information).

For centuries, the arts of weaving, felting, and quilting were primarily functional and relied on natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool, and silk. Technological advances of the Industrial Revolution paved the way for the modern textile movement. By the early 1900s, quilt makers were exploring the qualities of fabric to develop works that could be hung with designs that were geometric, narrative, representational, or improvisational. During the 1950s, increasing numbers of weavers began binding fibers into nonfunctional forms as works of art. Since then, fiber work has become more and more conceptual using a full range of natural and synthetic materials. Beyond weaving, fiber structures are created through knotting, twining, plaiting, coiling, pleating, lashing, and interlacing.

Jennifer Crenshaw, Assistant Professor and Area Chair of the Fabric Design Program at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, has always been intrigued by embroidery on fabrics and how it brings texture and adornment to textiles. “The beauty is in the layers of stitches and the decorative embellishment and forms they create,” she said. “I am compelled to free the stitches from the fabric so one can experience the embroidery as an independent textile.” Originally from Augusta, Crenshaw attended the Rhode Island School of Design and earned an MFA in Textile Design. The free form embroidery Crenshaw created for the Quilts, Textiles & Fibers exhibition is a contemporary textile that resembles lace. The free form textiles can be shaped, undulated, and draped to gracefully hang or lay over a surface. The negative and positive space and the shadows that they cast are just as captivating as the embroidery.

If visible, click on the “i” in the upper right corner to read the current photo’s caption.

Like Crenshaw, Fiber Artist Judy Bales also harnesses positive and negative space to create her textile sculptures. Bales is a multi-disciplinary artist who focuses on sculpture, mixed-media installation, and public art. In her work, she uses found, recycled, and repurposed materials in an ongoing effort to reveal beauty in unlikely places and stretch conventional notions of what constitutes art. Bales, who received both her BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Georgia, majored in painting as an undergraduate and completed her post-graduate work in fiber art.

“As a mixed media artist,” she said, “I create fabric-like structures from materials that are not technically fibers but that can be manipulated as one manipulates threads or yarn. I refer to these structures or surfaces as textile terrains, further alluding to the concept of creating a ‘landscape’ within the gallery.”

Using fibers and textiles from YKK, Bales will create a large-scale fiber art installation entitled “Yugen: A Mysterious Grace” for the Quilts, Textiles & Fibers exhibition. By manipulating the materials using improvisational and experimental techniques, Bales will create an abstract landscape. The word “yugen” refers to a subtle distinction in Japanese aesthetics and cannot be translated into English. Bales thought it would be especially appropriate to describe this installation since the fiber materials came from a Japanese company and have gone through a kind of mysterious transformation. With simple techniques the artist intends to create a complex but unified space that will include interactive elements.

For the installation, Bales chose several materials from YKK and explored a variety of techniques with each one. Approximately half of this work was done before the week of the installation, with the remainder to be created on site with the help of members of the community. “The public will be invited to work with me during the week that I install the show,” said Bales. “The opportunity for members of the community to work directly with an artist and to use these materials in new ways will be thought provoking for the public and generate interest in the Museum, the arts, YKK and its products.”

“The ‘Cycle of Goodness’ philosophy was further defined in 1994 to include a commitment to the environmental wellbeing of our planet, and today YKK makes harmony with the environment the highest priority of our business activities. The most exciting aspect of our partnership with the Museum of Arts and Sciences for the Judy Bales exhibition is that YKK has the opportunity to contribute to the arts in Macon, our hometown for the past forty years, while simultaneously supporting Judy Bales’ desire to reuse scrap materials from our manufacturing process that otherwise would have been heading to the recycling plant.”

The Museum of Arts and Sciences gratefully acknowledges
the generous support of the following Sponsors:

Quilts, Textiles & Fibers Sponsors

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