A few weeks ago my friend Kathy came over for a quilting play date. We had lunch at my favorite place (the Connection Cafe in Watertown), and then we went down to the studio for an afternoon of fun.
During the visit Kathy mentioned she was going to have some of her work displayed in the Fine Art of Fiber exhibit at the Chicago Botanical Gardens the following week. My friends Lori and Susan joined me and we had a lovely day of food, fiber and fun. We met Kathy for lunch and then hit the show.
It was a feast for the eyes. There were quilts, weavings, garments, baskets, and more. The exhibit was presented by Illinois Quilters, Inc; North Suburban Needle Arts Guild; and the Weavers Guild of the North Shore ~ with a special exhibit by Explorations (formerly Women’s Journey in Fiber, of which Kathy is a member). As usual, I planned to post photos of some of my favorite pieces, but I forgot my phone ☹️. Can you believe it? Fortunately my dear friends who brought their phones came to the rescue. I hope you enjoy!
One of the first pieces that drew me in was a landscape by Pat Kroth. Pat is a fiber artist from Wisconsin and I’ve enjoyed watching her work evolve over the decades. I think she was one of the first to use a technique in which small pieces of fabric, and found objects, are captured under tulle. I was amazed to find that no tulle was used in “Garden Blooms”. Instead, she quilted it so heavily that every tiny schnibble of fabric was held in place! Beautiful!
There were a number of improvisational block quilts in the show and my favorite was “Line Dancing” by Valerie Rodelli:
I don’t really care for the name, but I found “Pinwheel Hell” by Amy Spungen fascinating. I must admit I can see why she chose that name, and I especially loved the way the blocks work in the border:
“Raspberry Cuddles” by Sarah Evans was made from Cherrywood hand-dyed fabrics and the colors are so yummy:
I loved reading about the challenge that inspired “Big Grey” by Sue Daurio.
Then, in the midst of many quilts in this particular gallery, there was a stunning cradle:
Wow ~ and there was so much more yet to see. The weaver’s gallery had many lovely woven items. Most everything there was for sale and I was taken by it all ~ so much so that I forgot to take any photographs. As we moved into the next gallery there were quilts again, so I naturally asked Lori for her phone/camera 😊.
I have a friend who loves wiener dogs, so I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of “Hot Doggie-ties”. Sadly, I forgot to get a photo of the sign, so I only know the quilter’s last name is Flores, her dachshunds are Tootsie and Elvis, and the pattern was from issue 142 of the March/April 2021 edition of some quilt magazine. This photo only has half a sign and I don’t have the rest of the information. Sorry. It really is a delightful quilt.
Then we found one of Kathy’s quilts ~ “90 Days of Mindful Stitching Sampler” ~ and it was amazing! We were in awe of all the marvelous stitches, and the variety of threads and textures.
I had to include the quilt with the sign in this photo so you can appreciate the size of the blocks.
“My Forest Dreams” by Ariel Towers was another favorite of mine. I was originally drawn to the colors and the velvet leaves. Then I noticed I could see through parts of the border…
only to realize it was crocheted!
Ariel’s use of color, and skill at blending the two very different needle crafts, is wonderful.
Explorations in Fiber Art is a group that encourages pushing the limits in the art of fiber. This year their theme was Trees, and the resulting works did not disappoint.
Kathy’s piece was entitled “Forest of Pleasures”. Lovely!
Each piece just screamed to be touched, but the “do not touch” signs were everywhere. Then we discoverd a brilliant portion of the exhibit. Every artist was asked to make a sample of the techniques used in their piece that could be touched, and they were all hung together!
We really loved being able to appreciate the exhibit with our eyes and our fingers.
I’ll end this post with my favorite piece in the Trees exhibit ~ “Leaf Pile” by Donna Koranek.
Those leaves were spectacular, but the dog really made the piece my favorite. His end brings this post to it’s end. Blessings to you all!
Oops, I want to add one more quilt! Last week I shared a technique for drafting curved flying geese. Margit responded quickly with this email:
Appliquéd geese ~ how interesting! And who knew they could be called a skein? Thanks for the photograph and story Margit 😊!