Long drives to and from events are a good time for thinking through pieces for exhibitions. I was crossing the Mississippi River when my thoughts came together for 20 For 20. The show is a 20th anniversary celebration at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.
The Textile Center has had a huge impact on the fiber community, and that impact reaches far beyond the Twin Cities, far beyond even the people who’ve actually been there. Knowledge and enthusiasm and inspiration spread like ripples in water when you drop a stone into a river or lake. That ripple effect is what I wanted to celebrate in this exhibition.
So when I got home, I collected 20 stones of varying sizes and got to work.
For the past few weeks I’ve been looping sheaths for the stones.
When the last stone was finished, I took them to the Wolf River near where I live. At least once, I wanted these stones to be dropped into water.
I was also auditioning different ways the stones might be displayed during the exhibition.
I’ll leave it up to the staff in the gallery, but I’m partial to the cairn shape.
Cairns make me think of trail markers, and I think the Textile Center has helped a lot of fiber artists find their way over the past 20 years.
After their bath in the river, I washed the stones. They’re dry now, and on their way to the Textile Center. They won’t be coming back to me after the show. I’ve asked that the stones be given to the Textile Center’s staff and board members as small tokens of thanks for helping to create an inspiring community.
Spending a morning wading in the river taking pictures gave me a chance to reflect on all the wonderful people who’ve been part of the Textile Center. I’m especially grateful to Jacki Bedworth, who first offered me the opportunity to teach there as a visiting artist, to founder Margaret Miller and to Becka Rahn. I’m grateful to every single person who contributed to the astonishing textile library, and to those who created the amazing dye lab, and to all the students who’ve taken my classes there. Special thanks are in order to the students who made do without irons when we were without power after one storm, and to the student who calmly pulled the plug when one of my garage sale irons was shooting flames out the back end in another class. Thank you to all the people who worked with the Textile Center on the Surface Design Symposium and on the SDA conference when it was in Minneapolis. Thank you to all the donors and volunteers who make the annual Fiber Art Garage Sale a great success. Thank you to the Mondale family and all those who support the gallery and exhibition program. And thank you to all the guild members who contribute their energy to the place. Every time I visit, I see something that inspires me. And all that creates a ripple effect.
Happy Anniversary, Textile Center!