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Saturday, December 31, 2016

January News

Happy New Year!

On View

Roz Daniels reports that she will have photographs from her Rural Abstraction series on exhibit for the month of January at the Maple Valley Cafe in Plainfield. Based on the colors and shapes found on farms and logging sites in Cabot, Roz finds that her photography and her fiber work share a strong communion.
She notes: "Recently, I've discovered how photography can balance my fiber practice and how they inform each other. There are the obvious contrasts between the two. For me, photography is speedy (at least in the taking and initial viewing) and quilt compositions and completion are anything but. That said, while using the camera, I find myself searching for the same abstract geometric shapes and play of color that I love combining in fabric. I am excited to share my photographs with a community that knows my work in fiber."

Syrup Barrel by Rosalind Daniels

Grey and White Circles 1

Maple Valley Cafe
January 2017
8195 Route 2
Plainfield, VT
Hours: Monday, Thursday & Friday: 6:30am - 2pm; Saturday & Sunday: 6:30am - 3pm; Closed Tuesday and Wednesday


Fiber Expressions

Our Exhibition Committee reports that UVM's Living/Learning Center has extended an invitation to exhibit in their gallery from late February through March, 2017. Considering the tight timeline, the Committee has offered exhibitors included in Surface Expressions (previously showing at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland) the opportunity to show their same works in this new show at the Living/Learning Center.

February 20 - March 31, 2017
UVM Living/Learning Center Gallery
633 Main Street
Commons 205
Burlington, VT 05405
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 23 at 5:30pm

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December News

On View

Just a reminder that Surface Expressions will be up through December 9th at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland.

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan will be giving an artist talk about the exhibit at the Chaffee on Saturday, December 3rd at 1pm, guiding visitors through Surface Expressions while sharing her insights into the artists' ideas and backgrounds.
Further info

Sharon Webster kindly shared the following photos from the opening

"Book Catchers" by Sharon Webster

"The Committee Process" by Eve Jacobs-Carnahan

"Sylt" by Almuth Palinkas

"Desert Mirage" by Betsy Wing

"Desert Mirage" by Betsy Wing and "Asterion" by Leslie Roth

"Mother" by Judy Dales

"Blush" by Marya Lowe

"Spots" by Rosalind Daniels

Many Thanks to our Exceptional Exhibition Committee!

2016 has been a landmark year for the Vermont chapter of SDA with four (!) exhibitions. Due to the hard work and dedication of our Exhibition Committee, this exposure has provided solid opportunities for introducing our members' work to a wider audience, while at the same time expanding interest and knowledge about textile-inspired art and design in general. And as a result, our membership has grown in a measurable way.

A huge thank you to Judy Dales, Rosalind Daniels, Marilyn Gillis, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, and Dianne Shullenberger for the countless hours devoted to securing and organizing our exhibitions this year at The Bridges Resort Gallery, Frog Hollow State Craft Center, Studio Place Arts, and the Chaffee Art Center.

A Final Note

If you would like a link to your website and/or your blog to appear in (or be removed from) the sidebar of this blog, please contact me: with the subject line SDA Link.

Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, October 31, 2016

November News

On View

Surface Expressions

An exhibit of work by 14 Vermont Members of SDA

November 9 - December 9, 2016
Chaffee Art Center
16 South Main St.
Rutland, VT 05701

Opening Reception: Friday, November 18,  5-7pm at the Chaffee's Queen Anne Victoria mansion, Main St., Rutland

Artist Talk by Eve Jacobs-Carnahan on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 1pm

Exhibiting Artists: Judy Dales, Rosalind S. Daniels, Linda Finkelstein, Elizabeth Fram, Marilyn Gillis, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, Ruby Leslie, Marya Lowe, Almuth Palinkas, Kathryn Price, Janet Ressler, Leslie Roth, Sharon Webster, Betsy Wing


SPA Annual Members Show

Knitted Amulets by Leslie Roth

November 17 - December 30, 2016
Studio Place Arts
201 North Main Street
Barre, VT 05641
Reception: Saturday, November 19  4-6pm

Exhibiting SDA Artists: Rosalind S. Daniels, Karen Henderson, Leslie Roth

Dianne Shullenberger's work will be exhibiting at the following three venues:

As a Featured Artist in the Rotating Artist Program at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center

Bittersweet by Dianne Shullenberger

October - December, 2016
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Hematology/Oncology Gallery
Lebanon, NH

New Vistas

Fall Water by Dianne Shullenberger

November 10 - December 31, 2016
Bryan Memorial Gallery
180 Main St.
Jeffersonville, VT 05464

The Dianne Shullenberger Gallery
will be open Thanksgiving weekend
by appointment only
Please call Dianne at 802.899.4993 to schedule a viewing

Ruby Leslie will be exhibiting at 

Craft Vermont

Blue Butterfly Scarves by Ruby Leslie

November 18 - 20, 2016
Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center
870 Williston Rd.
Burlington Vermont
Exit 14W off 89

Fri. 10-8, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5
$8 admission valid for re-entry all 3 days
Sunday only: $5; children under 12 free with adult

Marilyn Gillis' work will be included in

2016 Members' Art Show and Festival of Lights

Fault Lines 6 by Marilyn Gillis

December 2 - 31, 2016
Helen Day Art Center
90 Pond Street
Stowe, VT

Reception: Friday, December 2 at 5pm

So long, but not goodbye...

We bid a fond farewell to Karen Henderson who is moving from Vermont to Pennsylvania this fall. We owe Karen a huge debt of gratitude for all her time, skills, and elbow-grease on our behalf. Through her many contributions as our state representative and the originator of this blog, she fostered the Vermont chapter of SDA into the vibrant and active group it is today.

You can keep up with Karen's activities through her blog, My Big Sunny Window.

Some of her smaller wall art pieces, in addition to her Inside Out Studio gift items, will be on view at "Celebrate! SPA Annual Members Show" outlined above.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October News

Upcoming Events

Hooked in the Mountains

Hooked Rugs and Fiber Arts Show

Champlain Valley Fairgrounds
Wednesday Oct 19 - Sunday October 23
9-5pm, Wed - Sat
9-3pm, Sunday
$8 adults, $6 seniors, children under 12 free

This fabulous show includes hundreds of hand-hooked rugs made by people in your community. The Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild has members from all over Vermont, the Northeast and eastern Canada.

In addition there is a special Tarot Card exhibit including 22 hooked fiber art works depicting original interpretations of Tarot Cards. The show also honors three featured artists from the guild: Liz Alpert Fay, Davey DeGraff and Jackye Hansen.

You can also enjoy the cafe, vendors, workshops and speakers that will be going on concurrently. On top of that there will be a quilt show at the same time!

On View

Flower of Time: Affinities ・ Michele Ratté

Michele Ratté, Island 4,  2011, archival acrylic box, 22kt gold, and palladium mono-prints on hand-loomed silk, linens, velum, fishing line and stone. Printed, shaped, cut, and assembled, 12"h x 12"w x 4"d

183 Main St.
Brattleboro, VT 05301
October 27 - November 27, 2016

Jackie Abrams in FiberArt Now

Jackie Abrams' studio is highlighted in the "Studios on View" section of the Fall 2016 issue of Fiber Art Now, p. 58. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September News

Exhibit at Studio Place Arts Ends

Visionary Conspiracy is now complete.

SPA Executive Director Sue Higby examines a tapestry by Betsy Wing

Thanks are due to our amazing Exhibition Committee, and especially Eve Jacobs-Carnahan for all the hard work that went into making this show such a success. Thanks also to Sue Higby, Executive Director of Studio Place Arts, for her masterful installation and efforts toward promotion. A video about the show that includes brief interviews with Roz Daniels, Almuth Palinkas, Sharon Webster and Marya Lowe was created by Shannon Lee Gilmour. You can view the video by following this link.

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan discusses the work in Visionary Conspiracy.   From left, pieces by Marya Lowe, Marilyn Gillis, Rosalind Daniels, Elizabeth Fram, & Marilyn Gillis

In conjunction with the exhibit, Eve gave an enlightening talk on August 13th, briefly delving into the mindset and process behind each exhibitor's work.

On View

Two of our members are exhibiting concurrently in Brattleboro:

Jackie Abrams: Elemental Vessels

"Dreaming of Uluru" by Jackie Abrams

Karen Kamenetzky: Hidden Agenda

"Seed Dreaming VI" by Karen Kamenetzky
183 Main St.
Brattleboro, VT 05301
August 18 - September 18, 2016
Artist Talk: September 17, 5pm (both artists)

Future Wave

86 Falls Road
Shelburne, VT 05482
Dates: Friday, September 16 to October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: September 16, 2016  6-8pm

Exhibiting Artists: Robert Bent, Karen Henderson, Madeleine Hopkins, Jane Ann Cantor, Jon Young

1611 Harbor Road
Shelburne, VT 05482
Dates: Thursday, September 29, 2016 to October 23, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 29, 2016  5-8pm

Exhibiting artists: Cameron Davis, John Douglas, Janet Fredericks, Brenda Garand, Karen Henderson, Rachel Moore, Jen Morris, Erika Senft Miller, Michael Zebrowski

Upcoming Events

Lecture: Jewish Papercuts and Tapestries - A Mother-Daughter Collaboration

Beth Jacob Synagogue
10 Harrison Ave.
Montpelier, VT 05601
Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Tamar Shadur

Tapestry weaver Tamar Shadur will present an illustrated talk about her collaboration with her mother, renowned Jewish papercut artist and scholar, Yehudit Shadur, in the production of finely woven biblical tapestries based on Y. Shadur's magnificent papercut designs.

Yehudit Shadur

A pre-lecture dinner is open to all at 6:00pm. Bring a vegetarian/dairy pot-luck dish to share. This event is FREE to members and the public. Please invite friends!

Followed by a Workshop the next day 

Jewish Papercuts with Tamar Shadur
Sunday, September 11, 2016  10am - 1pm

Learn the centuries-old folk art of Ashkenazi and Sefardi Jews in this workshop led by Tamar Shadur, daughter of renowned papercut artists Yehudit and Joseph Shadur. We'll explore what makes a papercut Jewish, and by employing artistic elements such as symmetry, positive and negative shapes, and Jewish symbols you'll create at least one papercut with simple materials.

Advance registration required. Fee: $20 for Beth Jacob Synagogue members; $25 for non-members. All materials supplied.


Karen Henderson's piece "Pause" received a Juror's Choice Award at the Fiber Options: Material Explorations exhibit in Annapolis, MD. The juror was Susanna Fields-Kuehl.

Calls for Entry

The 20th Biennial of Quilt National

All artists who submit their work will receive thank-you gifts worth $75!

As a thank you for submitting your work to this historic event, the Dairy Barn Arts Center & Quilt national have partnered with Fiber Art Now magazine to give:
- Free membership to the Dairy Barn Arts Center
- Discounted subscription to Fiber Art Now
- Free Eco Dye eBook Resource (Eco Dye: Traditional Dye Work through a Contemporary Lens).
Deadline: September 1, 2016

2016 Excellence in Fibers

Yes, Excellence in Fibers is a juried exhibition in print, but this year it will also be a full exhibition!

New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts
January 25 - March 19, 2017
Five Categories:
Wall/Floor Works | Sculptural Works | Vessel Forms/Basketry | Installation Works | Wearables
Deadline: October 1, 2016

New for 2016
  • Twice as many works will be selected and shown
  • There will be five categories, a prize in each category ($300), and a Best in Show prize ($600)
  • Selected works will be shown at the New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, MA
Learn More & Apply Here

Art Censorship

I recommend reading about the recent censorship of artquilter Kathy Nida's work by AQS from the traveling SAQA exhibit "People and Portaits". Whether you agree or disagree with either party involved, as artists it is important to be aware that censorship is alive and well. I am linking to Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood's blog CraftSanity as her synopsis of the event is the most concise I have read and the accompanying podcast includes an interview with Kathy Nida. SAQA's board of directors' response can be read here.

Monday, August 1, 2016

August News

On View

Everyone's "headed" to Visionary Conspiracy at Studio Place should too!

"Anti-freeze" by Leslie Roth

Visionary Conspiracy

Vermont SDA Group Show
Fighting violence with beauty

July 26 - August 27, 2016
201 N. Main Street
Barre, VT 05641
Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri: 11am - 5pm, Sat: Noon - 4pm

Member News

Roz with her original piece, "Spring Rain", beside the enlarged version on view at "Big Art"

Rosalind Daniels' work is on view in "Big Art" at the Berlin Mall in Berlin, VT through this fall. In a unique and inspiring exhibit that includes 16 artists whose original works have been enlarged to fill the mall's windows, this show offers a "tremendous" experience for shoppers and visitors alike! More info

Participating artists: Rosalind Daniels, Anna Dibble, Janet Fredericks, Jessa Gilbert, Steven P. Goodman, Wendy James, Mark Lorah, Mickey Myers, Maggie Neale, Elizabeth Nelson, Adelaide Murphy Tyrol, Arthur Schaller, Jayne Shoup, David Smith, Kathy Stark and Frank Woods.

Calls for Entry

Vermont SDA Group Show
Surface Expressions
Chaffee Art Center
16 S Main Street
Rutland, VT

Exhibit: November 9, 2016 to December 9, 2016
Submission of images: September 1, 2016
Notification of acceptance: September 15, 2016
Delivery of work: October 28th or from 1:00 to 4:00 on October 30th

For full prospectus, view the Surface Expressions page in the right sidebar under Additional Pages

Thursday, June 30, 2016

July News

On View

1 - 2 - 3 - Φ: Math and Art

Round Numbers by Roz Daniels
June 7 - July 16, 2016
201 N. Main Street
Barre, VT 05641
Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri: 11am - 5pm, Sat: Noon - 4pm

Curated by Jody Brown and Janet Van Fleet
Exhibiting Artists: John Anderson, Daryl Barnett, Tom Batey Nancy Benerofe, Paul Calter, Ted Ceraldi, Roz Daniels, Robert Fathauer, Mark Gonyea, Chris Jeffrey, Mark Lorah, Mimi Magyar, Liz Nelson, Justin Paluba, Mattew Ramada, Nick Santoro, Bhakti Ziek, Carleen Zimbalatti

A Journey Across Boundaries

June 18 - September 5, 2016
71-73 Main Street
Randolph, VT 05060
Gallery Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs: 12-5pm, Saturday: 12-6pm

Curated by Gowri Savoor and Angelo Arnold
Featuring the work of eleven regional visual artists:
Angelo Arnold, Galen Cheney, Jason Galligan-Baldwin, Karen Henderson, Liz Kauffman, Rachel Moore, Gowri Savoor, Jason Swift, Mary Zompetti, in addition to poet and winner of the Vermont Book Award 2015, Kerrin McCadden and musician and composer, Evan Premo.

Visionary Conspiracy

Vermont SDA Group Show
Fighting violence with beauty

July 26 - August 27, 2016
201 N. Main Street
Barre, VT 05641
Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri: 11am - 5pm, Sat: Noon - 4pm

Exhibiting Artists: Judy B. Dales, Rosalind S. Daniels, Elizabeth Fram, Marilyn Gillis, Karen Henderson, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, Ruby Leslie, Marya Lowe, Lyna Lou Nordstrom, Almuth Palinkas, Leslie Roth, Ellen Spring, Sharon Webster, Betsy Wing

Showing concurrently: Soft Bomb Barre
Around downtown Barre there will be an array of fiber art installations and soft, colorful "explosions", special exhibits, talks, a moving pop-up weaving studio, and more. For a map of the fiber art installations go to Soft Bomb Installation map will be available mid-July.

Member News

Enchanted Forest by Judy Dales

Judy Dales' quilt, Enchanted Forest, was featured in the latest SAQA Art Quilt Collector magazine in the Gallery, Inspired by Nature section.  

Karen Henderson has a lot to report this month! She will be exhibiting out-of-state in New York and Maryland; more locally she will be bringing her Inside Out Studio to the 46th Annual Antiques and Uniques Festival in Craftsbury Common, VT.  Also, she has been interviewed on Details about all these events follow.

Karen reports: 
"Daniel Crowder from was kind enough to invite me to do an artist interview. The TextileArtist website was founded by Joe and Sam Pitcher, who were inspired to a great appreciation of textile art through their mother, Sue StoneThe site is a lively and active hub of inspiration, articles, resources, and a wonderful place for textile and fiber artists to promote their work. What an honor to be included!"
Click to read Karen's interview

Summer Small Works 

Hosted by NAWA (the National Association of Women Artists, Inc.), the group has been empowering, promoting, supporting and encouraging women in the arts since 1889.

July 8 - August 19, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 14, 2016, 5-7pm

315 West 39th Street
Suite 508
New York, NY 10018
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday 10am-5pm; Closed: Saturday/Sunday

Fiber Options: Material Exploration 

An exhibit held at the Maryland Federation of Art
From hand-knit pieces felted into sculptural monuments to video monitors shrouded in hooded sweatshirts, the option in fiber are limitless. Combining an array of materials, both traditional and unexpected, with historic to digital techniques, the artists of Fiber Options: Material Exploration exhibit artistry, innovation, and emotion.

July 14 - August 7, 2016
Opening Reception:  July 24, 2016, 3-5pm

18 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
Gallery Hours: Daily 11am - 5pm

Antiques & Uniques

Craftsbury Common, VT
Saturday July 9, 2016
10am - 4pm
Rain or shine
$5 parking fee goes directly to the town fire department.

At this unique event more than 100 antiques dealers and Vermont craft artisans and thousands of shoppers gather in the small country village where Alfred Hitchcock's "The Trouble with Harry" was filmed.

Live folk and fiddle music and an all-local foods barbecue attract shoppers of all ages from all corners of Vermont and out-of-state. A silent auction, 10,000 title book sale, farmers' market, Senior's seating, kids' games and specialty foods vendors enhance the day, making it a great event for the entire family. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June News

Member News

Material Matters Opens This Friday!

*Postcard by Karen Henderson

Calls for Entry

2016 Fiber Art now "Excellence in Fibers"

For full information: 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May News

Member News

New Studio

Karen Henderson celebrated her bright new creative space with an open studio event April 29 & 30.

She will be participating in

The Montpelier Art Walk

Friday, May 6th from 4pm - 8pm
In her new studio at:
46 Barre St.
Montpelier, VT
Basement Studio #1
*Please use entrance on the right side of the building. Go down the stairs; Karen's studio is down the hall on the left.

Visit Montpelier Alive to learn more about all the artists and venues.

Karen will also be attending the first outdoor Capitol City Farmer's Market
with her Inside Out Studio creations
on Saturday, May 7th
9am - 1pm
at Elm and State Streets
Montpelier, VT

Marks and Musings

Marilyn Gillis      "Marks and Musings 6"

Marilyn Gillis will be exhibiting recent mark-making and collage art. The works feature variations on simple black marks on white and bold graphic collages
May 10 - 28, 2016
Axel's Gallery and Frame Shop
5 Stowe Street
Waterbury, VT
Artist Reception: Friday, May 13th 6-8pm
Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10-4

Water Journeys in Art & Poetry

Dianne Shullenberger and poet Mary Jane Dickerson will discuss their recent collaboration, a powerful union of words and images unfolding between the pages of their book, Water Journeys in Art & Poetry
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Bridgeside Books
29 Stowe Street
Waterbury, VT

"Material Matters" Artists Selected

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan     "Shorebird Peril"

The following SDA Vermont member artists will be exhibiting at Frog Hollow State Craft Center during the month of June in the SDA Vermont group exhibition "Material Matters".

Judy Dales of the Exhibition Committee offered the following comment: 
"This exhibit presents an exciting sampler of the work being done by fiber artists today: baskets with unusual surface treatments; knitted sculpture, both thought provoking and whimsical; quilted works ranging from complex subtle designs to bold, graphic work; woven wearables to wall weavings; hand painged and dyed fiber pieces; and imaginative assemblages made from both fiber and natural objects. The items in this exhibit cross boundaries, sometimes obviously fiber work, other times mixed media, thus truly representing the broad range of surface design today."

Exhibit dates will be June 1 - 28, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

April News

Lots to read and absorb this month, especially Suzanne Loker's recap of her recent trip to South Africa...enjoy!

Special request: My goal is to upload posts on the first of each month. Please keep in mind that while I aim to accommodate every news item, sending them to me at the last minute can be challenging. I would greatly appreciate it if you could try to plan ahead and send your news so that I have at least several days at the end of the month to get it uploaded. Many thanks! - Betsy

Calls for Entry

Don't forget that submissions for "Visionary Conspiracy" are due May 1st. The full prospectus can be viewed on the Visionary Conspiracy page to be found in the sidebar to your right. Also, arrangements have been made for Southern Vermont members to drop off work with Jackie Abrams in Brattleboro; details on the prospectus page.

"Area Artists Show" at the Chandler
Once again Chandler Gallery will host its perennially popular "Area Artists Show", to run April 30 - June 11. Area artists and crafts people are invited to submit one example of their recent best work to be included in the exhibit. 
"Area Artists" are defined loosely as those from Central Vermont east of the Green Mountains - the primary region that Chandler serves.

Work will be accepted Sunday, April 24, 4-6pm and Monday, April 25 6-7:30pm
Small participation fee of $10 to cover advertising and reception expenses.
Chandler Gallery takes a 30% commission on any sold work, though work may be submitted that is not for sale. Please do not submit works that have been shown in Chandler Gallery in the past. 
Opening Reception: Friday, May 6, 6-8pm
Exhibit Runs April 30 - June 11
Regular gallery hours: Fridays: 3-6pm, Saturday and Sundays: 12-3pm

Save the Dates!

Exciting news - Karen Henderson has a new Studio! located at The Center for Arts and Learning (CAL) in Montpelier. CAL is home to organizations such as The Monteverdi Music School, The Summit School, The T.W. Wood Gallery and several businesses and artist/writer/musician studios. With spring here, it's been a perfect time to purge, re-organize and start to get settled into this new creative space. White there is much more to be done, a celebration is still in order. Please Save the Dates for an Open Studio and stop by! There will be art (finished and in progress), hopefully a loom dressed with 70/2 linen, and a wicked good spring cleaning sale on some art & art supplies...for anyone who is a fan of Karen's Inside Out Studio market works, there will be some pre-market season deals there too!

Open Studio Celebration
April 29 & 30
The Center for Arts and Learning
46 Barre Street, Montpelier
Basement Studio 1
*Follow signs posted at the doors*

Artwork Selected for Publication

With Thanks to the Mud Season Review Staff, two of Karen's pieces: Willing and Peripheral, have been published in conjunction with this month's Issue #18 Fiction feature piece "How I Found God in the Laundromat" by author Sam Gridley. The Mud Season Review is an international literary journal run by members of the Burlington Writers Workshop, a free writing workshop based in Vermont. They publish monthly: one story, one substantial poem or protfolio of poems, one essay or piece of narrative nonfiction, and visual art. The online journal showcases these individual works and their authors for a full month, by featuring interviews with the authors, inviting them to read their work, and offering them a virtual place within our workshop community. Print journals began in April 2015.

Art in Embassies

That First Peony  by Elizabeth Fram  
photo credit: Paul Rogers Photography

Elizabeth Fram's piece "That First Peony" was selected by curator Imtiaz Hafiz to be included in an exhibition at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Riga, Latvia as part of the Art in Embassies (AIE) program. AIE falls under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. and was created in 1963 to curate exhibitions of original artwork by American artists in the residences of the United States Ambassadors worldwide.  For five decades, Art in Embassies has played a leading role in U.S. public diplomacy through a focused mission of vital cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchange.


Please enjoy SDA Vermont Rep Suzanne Loker's recap of her recent trip to South Africa, including an invitation extended to all of you by the South African Quilt Association to submit work to the "Siyadala Quilt Festival - July 2017". Read on!

Inspirations from South Africa

by Suzanne Loker

Cape Town Suburb 

Cape Town Public Art
For SDA VT travelers, I recommend South Africa--I was lucky to travel there the past two years in January/February. I was a member of a research team focused on socially responsible apparel production. The South African apparel industry is in disarray, first from the sanctions of Apartheid and its lifting, and then from the globalization of the industry seeking low-wage labor. Some groups are working to reestablish the national industry with socially responsible practices as their competitive advantage. This was a primary focus in my former life as a college professor. 

Happily, I stayed a few days extra each year to do some touring and to meet some fiber artists! As I was going to spend the extra time on my own, I googled “fiber artists South Africa” for some names and contact information. I found several organizations representing and promoting fiber artists and sent an introductory email. The first year Jenny Hearn showed me around some galleries in Johannesburg and introduced me to her work as an artist (see and as one of the South African curators of a 2014 collaborative traveling exhibit focusing on Mandela. Michigan State University museum curator, Marsha MacDowell, organized the exhibit of US members of the 
Women of Color Quilters Network and South African fiber artists. You can view the US artists’ pieces HERE.

Some of the South African pieces were representational, incorporating Mandela’s image such as Sheila Walwyn’s "The Long Walk is Over".

"The Long Walk is Over"    by Sheila Walwyn

Others were more abstract such as Jenny Hearn’s "It is In Your Hands Now".

"It's is In Your Hands Now"    by Jenny Hearn

Another collaborative exhibit is underway this year to celebrate Desmond Tutu and several of the fiber artists I met will be part of that exhibit too.

Learning about the country through the Apartheid Museum, Soweto tour, and talking with South Africans, I was inspired by the cultural meanings and messages in the fabric artists’ work. This year in Cape Town, I was treated to a tea with seven artists who brought their work to show! I had asked for recommendations of galleries where fiber art was exhibited. Since fiber art is not in galleries yet (one gallery has now agreed to exhibit), they decided to bring the art to me. I was overwhelmed with the energy and enjoyment the group exuded, as well as by their art. Quite a few seemed to layer stitching/embroidery and bead/ribbon embellishments on top of pieced and appliquéd work. Many of the works represented events and natural history of South Africa such as the fires in the mountains near Cape Town in the near past, volcanoes, the Big Five animals viewed in safaris (lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, and water buffalo), and their national struggles with Apartheid. Very inspiring to me who is seeking methods to infuse my work with meaning. Below are several of the works by women I met.

"Freedom of Speech"    by Susan Wessels

 "Angry about Aids 4 – A Chink of Light"   by Margie Garrent

"Volcano 2"      by Jenny Hearn 

Siyadala Quilt Festival – July 2017
Every other year the South African Quilt Association sponsors an exhibit and invites international artists to submit. They have a category for contemporary art quilts. My new friends would be delighted if some of you were to submit…the challenge will be the shipping, but my contact, Jenny Hearns, has agreed to oversee and coordinate these details for you. Look at the website for more information, noting that it will be updated regularly.