Monday, August 6, 2007

Where Would You Wear That?

Where Would You Wear That?
The Mary Baskett Collection
June 2 to August 12, 2007

Examine the work of several of the most forward-looking fashion designers of the twentieth century through this exhibition of more than fifteen pieces designed by Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, and other avant-garde Japanese designers over the past thirty years. This innovative, multimedia installation at the Cincinnati Art Museum showcases designers who have changed the way we look at clothing.

Listen to Mary Baskett share how she started collecting garments by these three designers.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Project Gutenberg: Beeton's Book of Needlework

Project Gutenberg's Beeton's Book of Needlework, by Isabella Beeton

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mapping the World's Textile Museums

Click on image.

Created by Liz Plummer of Dreaming Spirals, the map is developing into a great resource for textile enthusiasts. If you know of a museum not listed, contact Liz. Just look in her blog's sidebar for her email link

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Felting a Rug

Wonder what is involved in felting? Nicole Chazaud of Festive Fibers takes you through the long, physical process of making a full-size 8x5-foot dining room rug. It starts with creating the design using ideas, images and colors from the customer's home, dyeing the wool, laying out the pattern, then rolling the rug to felt it. Many layers of wool are needed, 6-inches worth in this case and because an amazing amount of shrinking and compression takes place, the rug actually starts out 25% larger than the finished product.

The page takes a few minutes to fully load the animated photographs of the process, more if you have dial-up but it's worth the wait.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bayeux Tapestry: The Movie

The Bayeux Tapestry (French: Tapisserie de Bayeux) as you have never seen it. Technically, it is not a tapestry in the traditional meaning of the word, that is, woven. Rather, it is embroidered and it is long. 20 in by 230 feet, depicting the events leading up to, as well as, the Norman invasion of England in 1066. The Tapestry is annotated in Latin but in this YouTube video, the annotations have been translated into English. Also, it starts about halfway through the original work at the appearence of Halley's Comet and concludes at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Still, fun to watch.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Elder Storytelling Place: The Frugal Crafter

For a long time Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By: What It’s Really Like to Get Older, has been impressed with the storytelling talent of elderbloggers and has decided it is a a worthy idea to collect elder stories. She says experts say it is important to collect and organize our stories for ourselves as we get older - it helps give meaning to the lives we have lived. So, in April of this year she launched a new blog: The Elder Storytelling Place, a natural adjunct to her main blog. The stories are short, limited to 750 words or less, and the subjects varied.

What does this have to do with fiber, you ask? Directly, not a whole lot, but I like both blogs and many of us are getting older. To get you started, I thought The Frugal Crafter, a story about a knitter, an appropriate introduction.

And while we are on the subject, figcincinnati members, why don't some of you consider submitting your own story or stories? Although the stories can be about anything, it would be fun to read about your textile adventures. Anyone over 50 is eligible. If you are featured, let me know and I will post a link. Click here for the rest of the rules.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

One of Our Members Has Been Blogged

Margaret Rhein, from Terapin Papers in Cincinnati, was a visiting artist at the University of Illinois Art and Design Department this weekend. She taught two workshops in decorative papermaking. Twenty four students pulled and embellished several sheets each.

via Bea Nettles

Sunday, April 29, 2007

FIG Meeting: Felting & Potluck

The meeting was held at the home of one of our master felters. Before eating, we were encouraged to make some felted flowers. To do this, we wrapped carded wool around a stone, dipped in it water to wet the wool, coated our hands with a layer of bar soap and then rolled the covered stone between them, building up heat and friction, to felt the wool. The stone was then removed from the felted wool and more wool was felted over twist ties for leaves. I was surprised by how little time this process took. Of course, there were a lot of fussy adjustments to make to refine our creations.

It was a beautiful, war, sunny and breezy day so the meeting was held outside under a canopy of vintage fabrics.

Lisa holds her in-progress crocheted afghan made of her natural hand-dyed wool, a colorful grouping of which is in the basket at her feet.

Mary, our hostess, holds her needle-felted penguin. This is a dry process as opposed to the wet one we were using to make our felted flowers.

Jan spread her latest quilt, a memorial to the loss of a dear friend to cancer, out on the pavement.

Grace modeled her impeccably tailored leather jacket. She is holding the dress that completes the outfit.

The meeting ended with a sharing of buttons and wood type.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Bead-It-Forward Breast Cancer Quilts

A bead auction to benefit breast cancer research. To view more butterflies and learn more about the auction, go here.

Photo: Contributors include Cathy Benton, Robin Bisel, Jeanette Shanigan, Sandra Cummings, Anne Pahl, Donna Markle, Guiguitte Yett, Kate Boyan, Mary Jo Schultz, Shirley Isaacs, Liz Thompson, Nichole Shanigan, Susan Hamilton, Karen Palmer, Sindy Todd, Sherry Serafini, Mike Ann Zable, Sandy Kephart, Nathan Shanigan, Barbara Nichols, Sonya Monzel, Sophia McLeod, and Rosalyn Warg.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Artist Studios

Curious about what other artist studios look like? The journal, Fiberarts, sponsored a Studio Contest, asking fiber artists to send images of their studios. All 43 entrants have been posted on the site. In addition to the images, each artist has provided a story about their studios.

Viewers were invited to vote for their favorites in the following categories (results to be posted in March): Best Storage/Organization, Best Stash, Best Use of Space, Best Setting, Most Inspiring Display.

Photo: David Chatt Studio

Monday, February 12, 2007

Embroidered Grids & Guides

Xavier University Art Gallery
My creative process is purposefully simple. After hand painting squares of silk, I sew lines with multiple colors of thread on my machine without a predetermined design, using only the sewing foot as a guide. After a grid is complete, I sew random angled lines. As I begin to hand embroider a row, these angles interrupt the path, causing me to ‘turn the corner’ so to speak. The process is akin to playing a highly strategic game. Colors weave up and over each other while linear paths wander wherever the ‘road’ takes them. I work with several colors simultaneously and I have to predetermine where a color might end in order to balance theory with reality. At each stage of the process, my underlying goal is to reconcile the old with the new, making historical references while creating new situations.

Title: Wraparound
Size: 14" X 10.5"

Title: Crossways
Size: 19" X 15.5

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Competition: art of the STITCH 2008

On January 12, 1906, the Society of Certificated Embroideresses was founded by 16 graduates of the Royal School of Art Needlework with the aim "to deal entirely with embroidery and with the first object of keeping up a high standard of work and design." Today. the Embroiderers' Guild has over 25,000 Members and subscribers throughout the UK and abroad, 238 Branches and 95 Young Embroiderers Groups.

Watch their site for information and entry forms for the international open biennial exhibition, art of the STITCH 2008, which will be available mid-February.

photo, Royal West of England Academy, West End, art of the STITCH 2006

Saturday, February 3, 2007

FIG Meeting: Buttons & Potluck

A pretty well-attended meeting, about a dozen of us. Before the actual sharing began, we sat down to a pot luck lunch, after which, Pat S., our host, invited us to see her quilt making studio. After years of having her studio outside her home, she decided to set it up in her basement. To make the space habitable for the fabric she was going to store there, she had to fix a leak, rip out the old floor tile and scrape the glue off the concrete floor (which, incidentally, left a beautiful pattern that makes it appear that the floor is set with stone), and install some lighting. Everyone was impressed with the size and neatness of the space, and her inventory of fabrics, organized by color.

The theme for the meeting was buttons, specifically old ones. Arnelle D. brought her grandmother's sewing box which she said still smelled like her grandmother. Of course, we all had to sniff the box and we were all reminded of our grandmothers. It smelled of talcum powder with a hint of spice. The buttons were fabulous and ranged from the tiniest, a quarter-inch or less (I didn't measure), to very large. I especially liked the doggie button in the photo below.

A few members shared recent work. Sally M. brought a quilt that had recently been in an exhibit. Pat S. showed her quilt in progress, a patchwork of some of her daughter's favorite t-shirts. The two completed panels will be put together, back to back, to make a completely reversible

Mary B. (below left) donated the lamp she brought to Pat S. for her grandson's school auction. It was made out of paper parasols attached to a lamp shade, and accented with glow-in-the-dark paint. The spokes made a pretty pattern. Margaret R. (below right) brought a mosaic memory jar she made which included buttons.

Arnelle D. told us about two current exhibits we should see that feature textiles, one at Xavier University Art Gallery featuring Kelly Frigard, Feltmaker and Bette Uscott-Woolsey, Mixed-Media Fibers (January 26 – February 16, 2007). There are no images on the Xavier site but you can download a schedule of exhibits. Several upcoming shows feature fiber. The other show to see is at the Contemporary Art Center, New Media/ New Materials: Highlights In Contemporary Art From The Fabric Workshop And Museum (February 02, 2007 - April 15, 2007).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Textiles As Art: Antique Textiles

No. 1138
Hungarian Embroidery with fringe
1800 - 1900 A.D
Size: 24 x 24 in

An informative resource for antique textile information. Covers a range of topics from buying and selling to restoration and preservation to appraisals and pricing.

The gallery includes Chinese silks of the Tang to the Qing dynasties, Pre-Columbian South American textiles, Central Asian Ikat and Suzani, Renaissance and Medieval European objects, Coptic and Ancient Textiles, Classical Islamic and Persian silks and velvets, as well as ethnographic Costumes and antique Kashmiry and Persian Shawls.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Through The Needle: The Art of Ray Materson

Raymond Materson believes in the healing power of art. While serving a 15-year prison sentence for drug-related crimes, he salvaged the thread of socks to create miniature scenes, most measuring only 2 and 1/4-by-2 and 3/4 inches, with 1,200 stitches per square inch to create miniature tapestries depicting life inside and outside prison walls and used needlepoint to stitch his life back together. Under such conditions, his art was both an escape and an act of courage.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

What F.I.G. Is All About

I am starting this blog to share with my F.I.G. friends, websites that may be of interest to them and photos from our meetings. Posting will probably be sporadic so I recommend using a news aggregator (also known as feed reader, news reader ...), like Bloglines, to keep you informed of updates.

An explanation of what F.I.G. is about is in order for those not familiar with the acronym. To my knowledge, there are no other F.I.G. groups (redundant, I know, but that is how we refer to ourselves) but that does not mean that you, dear reader, cannot start one. If you do, please let us know by posting a comment. We would love to spread the concept.

The Fiber Interest Group, or F.I.G., as it is fondly called, was started in November 1980 by nationally known doll maker and fiber artist, Lenore Davis, and continues to this day. The original purpose of the group was to provide an informal discussion forum for fiber artists in the Cincinnati and Tri-State area (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana) where they could show, ask for help and receive feedback on recently completed or almost completed fiber or fiber-related art works, a productive exchange between the artist and the members present. When this type of support is not needed, and it often is not, other textile-related discussions have been encouraged and have run the gamut from books, exhibits seen and to be seen, competitions, travels, reports on workshops taken and more. Since it’s inception, F.I.G. has expanded the base of it’s membership which now includes collectors, teachers, students and other individuals interested in learning more about the local fiberarts community.

Meetings are informal affairs and have ranged in attendance from a few to many. Most are held in, but not limited to, a member's home or studio. Often, a theme is selected by the member hosting the meeting, as a prompt for discussion or suggestion for what to bring and share. Occasionally, a field trip is planned to a school, for a demonstration, perhaps, or an area museum to see an exhibit, or other place of interest. Meetings take place four to six times a year.

F.I.G. has no officers, dues, or paperwork. Persons interested in attending a meeting send one or more SASE (self-addressed stamped envelopes) to the “envelope person,” the only "official" in the group. About a month before each meeting, this person complies a set of envelopes which are given to the person who has volunteered to host the meeting. The host uses these envelopes to mail out a flyer they have created with pertinent information about the meeting they are hosting. One envelope in a member’s set of envelopes is marked “last envelope.” Receipt of this envelope indicates that the envelope person has run out of envelopes for the person receiving it. Unless that person sends in more envelopes, they will no longer be notified of meetings. Using this simple formula, Cincinnati’s F.I.G. has endured since its inception.