‘Fabrics, Fibers & Filaments’ exhibit to open in Sweet Home

By Molly Larson Cook
For The New Era

There’s more to art than paint and canvas, and a colorful new Sweet Home Coalition for Artistic and Scholastic Enrichment (SHOCASE) exhibit, “Fabrics, Fibers & Filaments,” makes the point.

This show, which runs May 2 through June 12 in the City Hall Gallery at 3225 Main St., features the work of three Sweet Home textile artists: Eva Jurney, Sunhee Hager and Annette Reisbick. An informal public reception with coffee and cookies will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, in the lobby.

Textiles have a long and important history both as art and as cultural artifacts. Among the best-known are the Pacific Islands tapa fabrics, European lace, Indonesian batik and the famous medieval tapestries now housed in New York City, such as “The Hunt of The Unicorn” tapestries at The Cloisters in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

These local textile artists bring different – and beautiful – work to Sweet Home, and all reflect the process of becoming an artist. Each started with one practice and moved to another as their interests developed. They have much more to say about the work than we can include in this article.

Jurney, known locally as a member of the Sweet Home Planning Commission, is a textile artist who creates unique fabrics using the Japanese stitch resist technique known as shibori. She was a quilter for 11 years until developing an interest in dyeing her own fabric. This step led her to shibori, which involves using indigo to create dyes with color nuances unavailable in commercial dyes.

Jurney has a teacher who has been using natural dyes in her work for 40 years and also turns to the books of Jane Callendar, a British expert in shibori.

About the work, Jurney said, “The shibori process involves stitch resist (compared to wax resist in batik) and is a more involved process. Different patterns of stitches in fabric produce different patterns once the fabric is dyed and the stitches are removed.”

Hager, whose father was an artist, has a background in traditional painting including watercolor but was eventually moved to her current three-dimensional work, which comprises fabric figures. She’s inspired by her surroundings, which include nature, people, the weather and her silkie chickens, two of whom, along with other animals and family portraits, will be on display.

“I focus more on process than outcome,” she said of her art. ” I work as long as it takes to create what I have in mind.”

The outcomes are a treat to behold.

Reisbick – known for her felted wool hats, wall hangings and wearables – is a member of the Linn County Art Guild in Lebanon and the Brownsville Art Center, where she shows her work regularly. Her early interest in textiles was knitting, which she began when she was 20. Along the way she discovered the felting process.

“That was it,” she said. “And I like the relationship between the animals that produce the fiber and the art we can create with it.”

One of her pieces combines black merino wool and raw silk, although she makes the point that many other animals produce fiber that can be used in textile work, “including dogs and cats.”

Reisbick took felting classes at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival and classes with noted felt artists Jean Gauger and Kristy Kun. She sees a close relationship between the animals that produce the wool and the artist.

Sweet Home-area artists looking to show their work at the Gallery are encouraged to contact SHOCASE Art Committee chair Diane Gerson at [email protected].