GLENCOE, Ill. (September 24, 2013) – The intricate textiles of Cuetzalan, a mountain town deep in the tropical rainforests of Mexico’s Sierra Norte region, will be one of many traditions featured at the 17th annual Fine Art of Fiber Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
“The show brings together the novice and experienced artisan so each can learn and be inspired from one another,” said Gale Wessel, event chairman and a member of the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, one of three sponsoring organizations. “The Fine Art of Fiber also provides the general public an opportunity to view work from nationally and internationally recognized artisans, and purchase beautiful hand-crafted items. Many people use the event to get a start on their holiday shopping.”
Opening night festivities will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 in the Regenstein Center. The show will continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 through Sunday Nov. 10, 2013. Admission is free. Typical parking restrictions apply.
A special presentation at 1 p.m. on Saturday will feature artists from Cuetzalan, a mist-shrouded town known for its colorful weavings that depict the flowers and wildlife of the region. Mary Carmen Olvera Trejo, a cultural representative, will present examples of the region’s weaving and embroidery, and talk about the symbolism contained in the designs. Pedro Martin Concepcion will demonstrate the use of a traditional shoulder loom and display fibers used by the indigenous artisans. The Nahuatl weavers work primarily with wool, but also use fibers from the Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra). Artist and designer Miguel Guerrero will accompany the two presenters, and all three will wear clothing representative of Cuetzalan. The Wilmette Art Guild is sponsoring their trip to the United States.
Learn about Japanese weaving and dyeing traditions at 1 p.m. Friday during an informal show-and-tell lecture by Debby Danford-Wada, of Kasuri Dyeworks, a major importer of Japanese fabrics. One technique, known as Kasuri or ikat weaving, uses resist-dyed yarns to create geometric patterns. Typical folk Kasuri applies indigo dyes to heavy-weight cotton. Silk fibers, brought to Japan from China, were often woven using a unique flat-weave technique known as habutai that is supple and smooth to the touch, while chirimen creates a slightly corrugated surface reminiscent of crepe.
The Fine Art of Fiber is sponsored by three area guilds: Illinois Quilters, Inc., the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, and the Weavers Guild of the North Shore. The event includes a fiber art exhibition – a display of quilts, wall hangings, clothing, dolls, fabrics and beadwork. Women’s Journey in Fiber will present a special exhibit titled “Par-a-Digm Shift,” a project using the shift dress to express a personal or societal shift in beliefs. Special fashion shows will take place 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Boutiques will offer a wide variety of hand-made items, such as quilts, hand-dyed and hand-painted silk scarves, hats, ponchos, jackets, place mats, blankets, and Christmas décor.
Visitors can also participate in a silent auction and raffle of works from each of the guilds. The prize for this year’s quilt raffle will be “Delectable Mountain Garden,” which won an honorable mention at the American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah, Kentucky, and took two first-place awards at the Machine Quilting Today Show in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and one first place at the Madison Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. The North Suburban NeedleArts Guild is raffling a collection of work of guild members, including knitted, hand-dyed, felted, beaded, and sewn items. The Weavers Guild of the North Shore is raffling “A Year of Scarves,” a collection of one dozen scarves each created by a different guild member.
Wares produced by residents of Friedman Place, a non-profit living community for visually impaired and blind adults, will be available for purchase. Weaving provides the adults a physical workout, mental challenge, meditative activity and the opportunity to create. The group will be selling baby blankets, bibs, throw rugs, dish towels, napkins, scarves, shopping bags, wine totes and other items.
The schedule of events includes:
- Great Wear Fashion Show at 11 a.m. Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9 in the Alsdorf Auditorium.
- Kasuri Dyeworks Lecture, 1 p.m. Friday in the Alsdorf Auditorium.
- Nahuatl Textile Design from Mexico Lecture, 1 p.m. Saturday in the Alsdorf Auditorium.
Additional information can be found on the Fine Art of Fiber webpage: www.fineartoffiber.org.