Monday, August 13, 2007

Pittsburgh Adventure, Day 1: Fiber Arts International

I vowed to finally make it to a Fiber Arts International exhibit this year -- after all, there won't be a chance again for another three years! - and invited my crit group to consider a field trip. The exhibition closes August 19th, so we couldn't delay. Four of us headed down to Pittsburgh bright and early last Wednesday morning in Marcia's comfortable SUV, made it in less than five hours and arrived easily at the Society for Contemporary Craft by 1:30 PM. This turned out to be my favorite of the two spaces that house the FAI exhibit. Large open ceilings, plenty of windows and natural light and freestanding portable walls added a lot of visual interest and architectural detail to this space, which felt open, airy and contemporary.

It also seemed that most of my favorite works in the exhibition ended up being in this space. We were permitted to take pictures of the overall space at SCC but not individual works -- although the second venue, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, allowed us free rein with our cameras.

The works in the joint exhibitions represent every type of fiber art. I found the diversity of materials and mediums, that included felted pieces, weavings, mixed media, assemblages, fashion, handmade paper, quilts and books, most stimulating. I find that same diversity when I attend the Surface Design Association conference exhibitions.

Another pleasing addition to the venue at the Society for Contemporary Craft were several cases that displayed samples and sketches and notes from a number of the artists in the exhibition. This opened a window into each artist's creative process and inspirations, which always intrigues me; here is one of the cases, which also serves as display works for some of the pieces.

Below are some reference materials and notes from Cynthia Corbin.
After visiting the gift shop and purchasing copies of the catalogue. we headed over to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, shown below, to see the rest of the exhibit.

The first floor gallery spaces (there were four) offered ample wall space to appreciate each piece but the galleries felt more subdued.

As you can see from the picture below, the scale of the works in these exhibits ranges from huge to quite tiny. The lighting carefully highlights the works on pedestals as well as those on the walls.

We capped our day off by meeting an artist friend of Marcia's, Petra Fallaux, who took us to a wonderful little Italian restaurant on Reynolds called Pino's. She acted as our navigator so we could drive to the lookout point at the top of Mt. Washington, where we got to enjoy a view of the city and its rivers.

Here is our satisfied group at the end of long, full and stimulating day. From left to right are Marcia DeCamp, Petra Falloux, Nancy Murty, Barb Seils and me. If you'd like to see all the individual works in the show, you can purchase one of the excellent exhibition catalogues at for $25.

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