ENTANGLED: FIBER TO FELT TO FASHION
Higbee Gallery | Sherry Schofield and Sharon Kilfoyle
The Kent State University Museum is pleased to host this invitational exhibition of felted work by fifteen contemporary textile artists from the United States and Canada. Felt is legendary as one of the oldest materials from which garments have been made. Created primarily of wool fibers that have been manipulated with pressure and moisture so that the fibers interlock, traditional felt is non-woven. Although wool is not the only fiber that can be felted, the physical properties of wool fibers felt more easily to form a strong bond. In this exhibition the majority of pieces are made in the nuno felting technique developed by Australian Polly Stirling in the early 1990s. The word nuno is derived from the Japanese word for cloth. Nuno felting techniques are simple, and allow the blending together of fabric and wool in the felting process. It has inspired designers to create sheer fabrics that are easy to drape and to sew into elegant garments. Fiber artists and designers are experimenting with the parameters of this process, and the result has been an amazing array of fabrics, styles, and aesthetics, as well as surprising combinations of fabrics, wools, and synthetic embellishments. By hand dying both the felting fibers and the base textiles, the artists achieve imaginative patterns of color and texture and create garments unique in both silhouette and style. Our focus in this exhibit is the use of felt in elegant garments, using both seamless and sewn felt techniques, and showcasing both sheer elegance and sturdy construction.