Fiber arts (aka textile arts) have been a diverse and dynamic method of artmaking and
storytelling for centuries. The San Juan Islands are home to many skilled fiber artists and their work is increasingly becoming a part of the fine art scene here. The Artists’ Registry Show, currently on tap at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) highlights the art of four such artists, each exploring a different aspect of the medium.
Lopez Island artist, Barbara Nepom is exhibiting a piece entitled, Slightly Scully, an art quilt constructed of hand-dyed cotton sateen. Nepom says, “Most of my art quilts begin with color and pattern. I love the messiness and spontaneity of creating rich colors through hand-dyeing. Dense stitching adds texture and a 3D quality and sometimes artwork from another medium serves as the springboard for a quilt.”
As a weaver, San Juan Island artist, Jason Munkres is inspired by color, texture, form, nature, and discovery. His entry, Fall Morning II, combining woven wool and cotton is a good example of his design process. It involves introducing something new into each new piece: a weave structure, dye technique, or color combination. Munkres claims Fall Morning II is part of a continuing exploration of dusk and dawn and that so intrigues us. “It represents not just a snapshot as day breaks, but also how the light changes before our eyes.”
San Juan Island resident and artist, Julie Weaver works in a variety of fiber art mediums. Her piece in this year’s AR Show is a masterful demonstration of the use of fabric, felted wool, beading and embroidery. Hiking in Acadia is from a photo taken by Weaver at the top of Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park. She says, “I set out to do a piece on texture. The rocks in Acadia are mostly pink granite. Hiking in Acadia depicts the granite, green moss, dirt and lots of imagination.”
Also from Lopez Island, fiber artist, Lorraine Edmond, displays a piece entitled Evening Came, an art quilt featuring her own hand-dyed cotton fabric. Of her process, Edmonds says, “My work is constructed very simply, by machine piecing, usually in straight lines. It is the complex surface design of the fabric itself that excites me creatively.”
The textile arts are certainly not new to San Juan County. Longtime San Juan Island resident and fiber artist, Marie Johansen, has been a member of the San Juan County Textile Guild for many years and is also a member of the Wild Rose Quilters group as well as the Rainshadow Quilting Arts Group. Johansen says each of the San Juan Islands are home to textile artist groups. “We have strong and vibrant communities dedicated to quilting, weaving and knitting. Most people enjoy more than one textile art passion. We seem to be a very creative lot!”
You can see examples of local textile arts as well as artworks from over 80 island artists at the Artists’ Registry Show, on display now at SJIMA through February 21, 2022. Located in Friday Harbor at 540 Spring Street, admission to the museum is $10. SJIMA members and those 18 and under admitted free. Museum hours are Friday through Monday, 11-5. Mondays are Pay as You Can Days. For further information visit www.sjima.org.
The Artists’ Registry Show is sponsored by The Honeywell Charitable Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission, San Juan Island Community Foundation, Town of Friday Harbor, Anonymous, Printonyx, Browne’s Home Center and Harbor Rentals.