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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Knitting featured in 7days!

Our very own SDA member Eve Jacobs-Carnahan is featured in this great article in this weeks 7days newspaper - Read On....

Knit Wits

From sweaters to sculptures, Vermont knitters have fun with fiber

It’s that time of year when Vermonters are digging out their sweaters, mittens and caps — and when knitters, spurred on by dropping temperatures and perhaps by a plethora of holiday craft fairs, take up their needles with renewed purpose.
But we’re not talking about your grandmother’s knitting. A growing crop of Vermont crafters is using the age-old skill to whip up anything from stylish sweaters to offbeat children’s costumes to sculptures with a social statement.
Seven Days tracked down three accomplished knitters to talk about the joys — and boundless possibilities — of their hobby.

Leslie Roth, Montpelier

A 42-year-old mother of two, Leslie Roth isn’t necessarily the type you’d expect to run out and commission a tattoo for her upper arm. But she did. And the tattoo itself is perhaps even more startling: a skeleton wielding knitting needles and a hank of yarn.
That just goes to show how devoted Roth, a co-owner of the Knitting Studio in downtown Montpelier, is to her favorite hobby. It also hints at her offbeat approach to knitting.
When she picked it up in her early twenties, Roth was attracted to the functionality of knitting; she liked knowing her leisure work resulted in something useful at the end of the day. “It’s relaxing; it’s creative; it’s functional,” she explains.
Pretty early on, Roth admits, she began deviating from patterns. “Some of us are not so good at taking instruction,” she jokes. Now she specializes in original designs — from one-off creations she knits for herself and family members to freelance patterns she creates to share with other knitters.
That might sound revolutionary to hobbyists still wedded to their pattern books, but Roth insists it isn’t.
“Knitting is not skydiving,” she says. “You can mess up as much or as often as you want, and no one is going to get hurt.”
Pulling projects from her tote bag, Roth describes some of her recent designs. She’s knitted Halloween costumes — among them a lamb, a penguin, a pterosaur, a chimera and an Ewok — every year for her children, now 5 and 8. After hearing a radio feature about a musician who drafted a composition based on the number pi, Roth whipped up a dress in which each stripe represents, in color and number of rows, a digit in pi — out to 50 decimal places.
This time of year, she’s juggling a few projects — holiday presents, knits for the store, socks.
“I’ll knit with anything but wire,” Roth says, and adds, “It’s really popular right now. Just not with me.”

Stephanie Vianelli-Nixon, Burlington

Stephanie Vianelli-Nixon begged for knitting needles as a child — and the crafter, now 30, remembers when Santa obliged the 7-year-old’s request. “I wasn’t instantly good at it,” she admits, so she set the needles aside for some years. But her interest in the craft endured, and when her best friend showed her the ropes, Vianelli-Nixon, then a 24-year-old grad student, was hooked. “I would not have survived grad school if not for the knitting,” she says.
A relatively recent transplant to Burlington — her husband snagged a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont — Vianelli-Nixon counts herself lucky to have lived in some great crafting communities. Now she works four days a week behind the bright, cheerful storefront of Nido, a College Street fabric and yarn store. Peruse the lovingly curated shelves there and you’ll probably stumble on more than a few of Vianelli-Nixon’s knit wares.
“This girl can whip out a sweater in — how long?” asks Nido owner Phiona Milano, glancing at Vianelli-Nixon. (The answer: a lightning-quick three weeks.) “I’ve never seen someone so able to produce so much.”
Vianelli-Nixon admits that she does knit a lot of sweaters. “It makes you feel good when someone says, ‘You made that?’” she says. Plus, after struggling for years to find clothes that properly fit her frame, Vianelli-Nixon found she was better off knitting something from scratch. She sticks mostly to patterns but has a strong sense of taste — a 1950s aesthetic, she says, that’s fairly “vintage-y.”
Most of all, though, Vianelli-Nixon is inspired by the fibers. Wandering through yarn stores as a child was what drew her to the craft, and her advice to aspiring knitters is, first and foremost, to find a yarn they love. “If you don’t love it, you’re not going to use it,” she says.

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, Montpelier

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, 52, got her start knitting as a child — first with a pair of mittens, then scarves and hats. By the time she reached college, she was crafting complicated sweaters. But what the seasoned knitter remembers more vividly than those early projects is the moment, about 15 years ago, when she first realized that knitting could be more than just producing functional clothing: It could be art.
That realization came when Jacobs-Carnahan picked up the 1996 book Knitting in America: Patterns, Profiles, & Stories of America’s Leading Artisans. “It just blew my mind,” she says, remembering being particularly struck by a project called “Portrait of Alzheimer’s” by fiber artist Katharine Cobey. The sculpture showed an intricate lace shawl that devolved into strange holes and shredded wool and silk.
For Jacobs-Carnahan, who had long worked from patterns, the shift to sculpture was “a big jump,” she says. “It was a big, mind-opening experience to see somebody making something that wasn’t clothing.” Then again, she admits she was tired of sticking just to functional wares. “I wanted something more,” she says.
Since then, Jacobs-Carnahan has knitted sculptural designs ranging from garden-inspired motifs to large, lacy tapestries, many from wool she spun and dyed herself. Several sculptures — including a series in which knitted hands or mittens figure — allude to knitting’s traditional role in garments. Some act as political commentary; others express frustrations with group dynamics or concern for social and environmental issues. Most are constructed over an armature of wire that gives them a three-dimensional structure. Jacobs-Carnahan’s work has appeared in exhibits throughout the United States and Canada, often along with that of other fiber artists. Even so, she says, sculptural knitting is fairly rare. And that means she’s often looking to other forms of art — particularly sculpture in other media — for her inspiration.
In her day job as an assistant attorney general for the State of Vermont, Jacobs-Carnahan says, her work is to “write and read and analyze and work on cases that take years to complete.” Knitting, she says, gives her an outlet that is tangible, physical and colorful — with more immediate results. “It lets me be creative with a different part of my brain,” she says. “I really need to do both, I have discovered.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

Innovators & Legends: Generations in Textiles and Fiber

Bhakti Ziek of Randolph, VT is one of the 51 artists included in  
Innovators & Legends: Generations in Textiles and Fiber
an upcoming exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Works by top tier, internationally celebrated fiber artists explores the fine art textile movement over the past century through the contemporary artwork of four generations of artists. The rich variety of assembled pieces illustrates the transformation of fibers from functional and decorative use to today’s forms created with a wide array of diverse materials and techniques. The artwork addresses issues such as narrative, identity, ecology, recycling, and political thought, and demonstrates beauty and visual richness achieved through color, pattern, texture, and form.

Show Dates: December 13, 2012 - March 17, 2013

Muskegon Museum of Art
296 West Webster Avenue  
Muskegon, MI 49440
(231) 720-2570  

The Exhibit will then travel on:
May 26 - August 11, 2013 
Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center 
205 Genesee Street  Auburn, NY 13021
(315) 255-1553

September 8 - December 1, 2013
The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky 
405 Rose Street  
Lexington, KY 40508

January 24 - April 11, 2014
University Art Museum at Colorado State University
University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington Street 
Fort Collins, Colorado

News from the North East Kingdom!

Judy B. Dales of Greensboro, VT will be having a show 
of her art quilts at The Craftsbury Care Center  
in East Craftsbury village.

'Musical Spheres' by Judy B. Dales
Show Dates:  December 4 - December 31
Opening Reception: December 16th, 3:30pm - 4:30pm

The Craftsbury Care Center
1784 East Craftsbury Road  
Craftsbury, VT 05826 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Local Project to assist Hurricane Sandy survivors

Community Project...helping survivors of Hurricane Sandy

Sandy project 004This info is from The Knitting Studio's Blog:

As you know, NYC and parts of NJ and CT were really hard hit by the recent storm.  Many people lost power and/or their vehicles, jobs, homes. It's incredible to think, as the sun shines here on just another day, how challenging it is right now for many folks in those areas to keep doing all the normal activities that make up a life.   Irene taught VT many lessons, and as much as we cared for those who were drastically and adversely impacted by the flooding last year, we'd like to show our care again and pass along a bit of help to the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. Let's provide a small assistance to people who are just trying to recover, clean up and survive.

With that said, The Knitting Studio in Montpelier, VT is collecting hand-crafted hats, mittens and scarves that they will send down to NY to be distributed to some of the people who have lost so much. We have had two requests for help. One comes from the yarn distributor Knitting Fever, located on Long Island. The other request is from two women who live, knit and blog in NYC. They are Brett Bara of the Manhattan Craft Room and Natalie Soud of A Dose of the Delightful. Check out their blog links.

Please bring down some great items to share with those who are trying to keep warm as the temperatures drop.   They'll be collecting from Nov. 14 through the Friday after Thanksgiving...that's the 23rd of this month. The need is now! 

Sandy project 003They've had a terrific response so far, and they thank everyone who has participated already.

So with an ahead of time thanks to anyone else who can come out and donate in this last week for the Project, here's where to bring your items:

The Knitting Studio
112 Main Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Mon-Fri 10-5:30
Sat 10-4
Tuesday Knit Night 6-8

Award Winning Art Quilts!

Pamela Druhen of Northfield, VT has some exciting news from the recent International Quilt Festival held in Houston, Texas!
Her piece “Passion” picked up a third place prize in the Art Quilts - Painted Surface category.
'Passion' by Pam Druhen 
Also, another of her pieces entitled “Spring Thaw” won second prize at LaConner Quilt Museum’s Festival of Quilts, LaConner, Washington.
Congratulations, Pam! 
You can also see her work locally at a Solo Exhibit that's still going on until December 5th at Gifford Hospital, Randolph, VT.

Open House in North Harland!

Pippa Drew of Post Mills, VT is showing her new one-of-a-kind dyed scarves at the Earth Star Pottery Studio and Gallery in conjunction with their Open House weekend on Friday, December 7th and Sat, Dec 8th.  Also for sale will be beautiful pottery by the talented Earth Star ceramicists.

 Water Dance design:  Shibori (Japanese tie dye), silkscreen frog print
Flight Design:  hand-painting

Petal Design:  batik (brushed wax resist and dye immersion)

 Wine and other beverages are provided both nights, with fabulous hors d'oeuvres by John Quimby and exquisite cakes from Slice of Life Bakery.  Hope to see you there!!

Sixth Annual 2012 Open House
Friday, December 7     6:30pm - 9:30pm
Saturday, December 8   6:30pm - 9:30pm

619 US Route 5
North Harland, VT 05052


The gallery is located in the old Coutermarsh General Store, a big white clapboarded building on the left, heading South on Route 5, just  five miles south of White River Junction (past the recycling center).

New England Biennial 2012

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is showing the work of 13 artists (listed below) who represent five New England states and have been selected from among nearly 400 applicants for inclusion in New England Biennial 2012, a juried exhibition organized by BMAC that showcases established, mid-career, and emerging artists working in all media. 

  'Pollinators on a Frond' by JoAnne Russo

The exhibition occupies five of BMAC’s six galleries. Each artist will show a curated body of work or an installation.  SDA's own JoAnne Russo of Saxton's River, VT, is one of the artists featured; along with two other VT artists, Denis Versewyveld and Kathryn Lipke Veigesaa. 

William Brayton (Conway, Massachusetts)
Christine Destrempes (Harrisville, New Hampshire)
Michael Donovan (Cheshire, Connecticut)
Marjorie Forte (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Benedicte Lassalle (Boston, Massachusetts)
Greg Mencoff (Somerville, Massachusetts)
Roslyn Meyer (Guilford, Connecticut)
Lynn Richardson (Marlborough, New Hampshire)
JoAnne Russo (Saxtons River, Vermont)
Robert Steinem (Colrain, Massachusetts)
Jason Travers (Providence, Rhode Island)
Denis Versweyveld (Vergennes, Vermont)
Kathryn Lipke Vigesaa (Belvidere, Vermont)

New England Biennial 2012
November 2, 2012 - March 1, 2013

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
10 Vernon Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Hours: 11-5 (M, W, Th, Sun); 11-7 (Fri); 10-5 (Sat); Closed Tuesdays | 802-257-0124 |