EDGE periodically introduces its artists. We feature current work, past work, and how things are changing.
I do free motion machine embroidery. Inherent in all my work is thread. The thread is a metaphor for me. I make thread do things that nobody believes it can do.... just like I wasn’t quite so sure I could successfully go back to school after my husband died when I was “north of 60!” My work also typically includes recycled materials, aka, “trash.”
The trash is a metaphor for widowhood. After one loses their best friend and partner of forty years, words like empty, useless, and spent come to mind — all descriptors for the throwaways of our society. I take trash, give it new life as something beautiful, just as art itself has done for me in my life.
As nature is such a huge influence in my work, the scenery of the Delaware river and its surrounds is a constant inspiration to me. A walk to the end of the pier to see the ships and smell the air is a tincture of rejuvenation on any given day. And one can never underestimate the developing support network of other artists as we develop in and with this unique new venue together.
Artist’s Selected Exhibitions
My work has been exhibited in five countries as well as in multiple galleries and museums throughout the United States. A more complete exhibition listing can be found on my website.
In January 2019, I signed with an agent out of New York City, and was a participant in NYC Art Expo in April 2019, and will be exhibiting in the June NYC art exhibition and in two venues at Art Basel — Miami 2019.
May Featured Artist:
Top: Burnout, 24” h x 36” w x 3” d. Beeswax with damar resin, California avocado and pistachio nut shells, Keurig coffee filters, charcoal, pigment and thread. A tribute to those who endured the wildfires of California.
Left: FunGi That You Art, 16” h x 18” w x 2” d. Thread, fabric, Tyvek and paper.
Bottom: For Eric’s Gem 22” h x 22 “ w. Thread, dryer lint. A commissioned piece for a couple who shared their first date at the Harvard University Mineralogical and Geological Museum.
I enjoy Picture Piecing where I can take a photo or one of my drawings and translate it into a pieced and quilted image.
In the beginning, this was an intuitive process, but I have developed it into an art form that from a distance is often mistaken for a painting.
I like to find commercial fabrics that help to create the image. I especially like to use batiks as they lend themselves to the portrayal of light and shadows as found in nature. Hand-dyed fabrics are wonderful for skies. My work is heavily free-motion-machine quilted.
April Featured Artist:
Top: Layers of the Flint Hills, 30” x 60”
Left: Spring Encounter, 40” x 46”
Far Left: Beneficial Burn, 36” x 36”
“SouthWind Gallery,Topeka, KS; Sabatini Gallery,Topeka,KS; TAG Gallery,Topeka,KS; Mary R Koch Arts Center, Wichita,KS; Leedy Voulkos Gallery, KCMO; ButtonWood Art Space, KCMO; Sunderland Gallery, Omaha,NE;
PageWalker Art & History Center, NC; Brigham City Museum, Brigham City, UT; LaConner Quilt & Textile Museum, LaConner, WA Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, Marshfield, WIHouston International Quilt Fest, Houston,TX
March Featured Artist:
“The Art of the Quilt: Trends,” - Piedmont Arts, Martinsville, Virginia
Fiber National, the Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA
Teapots! 11th invitational, Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Creative Crafts Council’s 31st Biennial Exhibition, Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD
“Dream Rooms,” part of “Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse,” National Building Museum, Washington, DC
“Waysides,” John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
“Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition 2016”, National Tainan Living Arts Center, Tainan City, Taiwan
My specialty is what I call “thread sculpture.” For many years I had been creating landscape art quilts, and particularly enjoyed the technique known as “thread painting,” densely machine-stitching parts of the scene like a painter would brush on paint. Eventually I came to realize that I love thread so much, I dropped out the fabric. The artwork continues to evolve, but not my philosophy: fiber art should take advantage of its own nature, and not try to be a painting, a photograph, or an object made with traditional sculptural media.
I don't need to look far for inspiration. A good piece of advice I heard early on was to make art about what you personally know. Many of my artworks are inspired by where I live. The daily connection I have with the trees in my yard (such as the elms I planted as seeds), the neighborhood's stream, or the songbirds who visit my feeder, make it more interesting to translate experience into a tangible form. Also, some of my pieces are influenced by living in the suburbs of Washington, DC. National news is our local news. I have expressed my worldview in a series that comments on the American social and political landscape.
Above: Kelp Forest Teapot, 6 x 7 x 5 inches. Machine and hand stitched, cotton and metallic threads.
Right: Elm Tree Teapot, 9 x 9 x 6 inches. Machine and hand stitched, cotton threads.
Top: Furl, 14 x 19 x 7 inches . My intent with this shrine-like piece was to show a beautiful place that, when you look closer, isn’t what it seems. The scene is the view from a footbridge. Run-off from the neighborhood causes the water level to rise rapidly. The flow had seriously eroded the stream banks over several years, undercutting the trees, particularly a huge old oak whose roots dangle below the thinning soil. Two weeks after I made this piece, the tree fell.
I originally focused on improvisational piecing and occasionally return to that technique. Much of my work benefits from my husband’s and other family members’ photography skills. I draw ideas from their photos then research the subject before transforming those images into fiber art creations.
In addition, I collaborate with my husband, who uses his computer expertise to manipulate photographs, print images on fabric, and create unique colors and textures that I then use in my fiber art.
Currently, I am exploring and experimenting with dyeing techniques such as ice dyeing and eco printing. I learn new techniques to expand my repertoire so that I can use the best technique for a given piece and often adding emphasis with thread painting.
Birds seem to be an on-going focus: I love their freedom of flight and quirky and quick movements.
February Featured Artist:
China, 27” x 25”
Above: Compromise, 26.75” x 16.5”
Top Right: The Raven, 26.25” x 26.25”
Bottom Right: The Eye of the Storm, 34.5” x 31.25”
Artist’s Past Exhibitions
2018 - Salina Public Library gallery, Salina, KS
2018 - Salina Community Theater gallery, Salina, KS
2018 - Rolling Hills Zoo gallery exhibit, Salina, KS
2018 - Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary, Dickinson County Heritage Center, Abilene, KS
2017 - EDGE exhibit at Alice C. Sabatini Gallery, Topeka, KS
2017 - One Door North, McPherson KS
2017 - Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM
2017 - Unitarian Universalist Church gallery exhibit
2016 - Lincoln Art Center, Lincoln, KS
2016-2018 - Smoky Hill River Festival, Salina, KS
2014 - EDGE exhibit at Sunderland Art Gallery, Omaha, NE
Where the Flowers Grow, 40” x 40”
My current abstract works intuitively mark a mental journey of time and place. Beginning with manageably-sized works on paper has allowed me to work serendipitously, exploring figure/ground relationships while expressing the thoughts and memories of a singular day or place in time. I now alternate between these and large-scale paintings on stretched canvas. I use layers of mixed media, which frequently includes hand stitched thread. I create each artwork without figurative form, allowing the viewers to become the human element interacting with the abstract landscape and their own personal narratives and memories.
January Featured Artist:
Above: Canopy of Hope, 58” x 42”
Top Right: Where Do We Go From Here?, 58” x 42”
Bottom Right: Letting Go, 58” x 34”
Artist’s Past Exhibitions
2017- Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf - Deschambault, Quebec
2017 - Alice B. Sabatini Gallery - Topeka, Kansas
2016 - Stone School Gallery - Portage du Fort, Quebec
2016 - LaLande + Doyle Exhibition Space, Shenkman Arts Centre - Ottawa, Ontario
2016 - Sunderland Gallery - Omaha, Nebraska
2015 - LaFab Galerie d’art - Chelsea, Quebec
2015 - International Textile Exhibition - Bejing, China
2014 - World of Threads Festival - Toronto, Ontario
2014 - Trinity Art Gallery, Shenkman Arts Centre - Ottawa, Ontario
Here is the work of Sharon Bass, who has served as the EDGE curator for 10 years. She has chosen to show detail images from three pieces of work. You can see more of her work at her website.
December 2018 Featured Artist
I often work in series. The image above is a detail from the Line Series, this one titled Fenceline.
(far left): A detail from Treeline.
(left): A detail of silk aspen leaves, machine stitched, embroidered and assembled for a temporary installation at Rocky Mountain National Park, 2009.