T a p e s t r y T o p i c s
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©2004 American Tapestry Alliance

A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today

Fall 2004 Vol 30 No 3

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Letter from the Directors

By Alex Friedman and Christine Laffer

The reception for the American Tapestry Biennial Five filled the Center for Visual Art, in Denver with an extremely appreciative audience. The exhibit looked terrific in the big open space it shared with the Small Expressions show and the Yardage show. Over twelve participating artists were present, including Brita Been, Norway, Birgitta Hallberg, Denmark, and Anne Stabel, Norway. The feedback from many attendees told us it was one of the best shows they had seen. The Center for Visual Arts was pleased as they counted over 600 visitors on the day of the Denver gallery crawl! Congratulations to Monique Lehman, Exhibition Coordinator, for handling such a complex exhibition with so much fine artwork. The catalog looks like a very provocative read and contains color reproductions of every piece in the show. Funding for the exhibition and catalog was provided by our members, by Friends of Fiber Art International, and by the National Endowment for the Arts.

There is big news for the fall on three fronts. First, ATA is a recipient of a $5000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This is a wonderful surprise, not only for the funding that will go toward our exhibition and educational projects, but more importantly, it gives tapestry national recognition. Three cheers for Christine Laffer and others who worked on the application!

Secondly, the American Tapestry Biennial Five will open at its second venue, at the Dorr Mill in Guild, NH on September 21st until the 9th of January 2005. This is the first time ATB will be in New England. Plans for docent tours, a three day design workshop and a lecture have moved ahead rapidly.

And finally, ATA will have a booth at the SOFA Exposition for the first time, in Chicago on November 5-7th. A big thank you goes out to Dave Johnson, Mary Lane and Anne McGinn for a willingness to work with us as we develop our presentation methods and materials.

Convergence seems to top the list of recent events. First, we'd like to thank Mary Lane and Michael Rohde for pulling together an excellent panel of presenters for "Outside the Studio: Presenting Tapestry within a Broader Field." Three speakers tackled three different perspectives on the problems that tapestry artists must address as they face the world outside the studio. Rebecca Bluestone spoke about the path she has taken from showing her work in a textile-specific gallery to a high-profile fine art gallery.

Marcel Marois, Rain-Yellow, 14"x15", 1998

Sharon Marcus gave a deeply insightful overview of tapestry within the larger world during the past 75 years and its current position in contrast to other "fields" of fiber art. Katie Anderson talked openly about the values and needs of gallery operators and how they continue to respond to an evolving market.

We now have several directions to pursue as a result of all our meetings in Denver:

  1. We will probably switch to an off-site, all-day, symposium format for the next Convergence in Grand Rapids, MI similar to the Retreat held in conjunction with Convergence 2000;
  2. We want to poll members about starting up distance-learning study groups;
  3. We want to work out different ways to structure more exhibitions; and
  4. We will seek collaborative projects with other arts organizations in order to continue to expand the field in which tapestry has visibility.

We would welcome your thoughts and suggestions to making these ideas a reality. We look forward to hearing from you and, of course, we welcome your volunteer efforts. Future issues will have more information as we develop these ideas. We hope you are already thinking about entering a tapestry for ATB6 in 2006!

Happy weaving! – Alex and Christine

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