Fiber Fusion: Washington State Surface Design Associaton

Richland has the honor of being the first stop on a yearlong traveling exhibition by Washington Surface Design Association.  Fiber Fusion will debut on June 1 at The Gallery at the Park and will run through June 23.  The Surface Design Association is a non-profit arts organization founded in 1977 and is comprised of artists, students, educators, gallery owners and curators. It has 215 members in Washington, and over 3,000 internationally.

Surface design art uses elements of surface design, which could include dyeing, painting, printing, stitching, embellishing, quilting, weaving, knitting, beading, felting, and papermaking, or in some way manipulates or alters the surface of a textile. Textile is defined as any natural or artificial fiber or a non-textile element, such as metal, that takes on the properties of fiber or is used in combination with textiles. Work can be functional or non-functional, and can be for the wall, the body or as decoration.

The intention of this exhibit is to showcase the depth and breadth of the surface designers’ work in Washington State. The exhibition will contain original, innovative artwork which is technically of high quality and which results in a show of overall high impact. The concept of Fiber Fusion is totally up to the interpretation of the artist.  More than the methods, surface designers are interested in the unlimited options for experimenting with color, texture, and design.

Eighty-eight artists representing 39 Washington cities and towns entered the competition with 246 entries. Artist techniques include fabric manipulation, hand embroidery, painting, wet felting, shibori, bojagi, and botanical dyeing. Some materials used include stainless steel, sock monkeys, gunpowder, vintage kimono, acrylic, newspapers, sand, wood, gut and hair. The entries were then judged by Jurists Layne Goldsmith, University of Washington Professor of Art and past chair of the Fibers Program, Young Chang, MFA in Fiber and Owner­­ of Gallery IMA, Seattle and Rock Hushka, MA Art History and Director of Curatorial Administration, Tacoma Art Museum.  Fifty-four artists were selected for the four-city exhibition.

Local artists belong to the South Central Surface Design Association.  Entries by Vicki Piper Gerton, Richland and Anke Wildman, Prosser were chosen for the traveling exhibition. 

Gerton trained as a microbiologist, a medical technologist, and an art and science teacher, in the early 1980's. She traded the dyeing of microscope slides for the dyeing of yarn and fabrics.  Gerton works loosely without much plan, trying to access the inner part of her being where the interplay of color and pattern on cloth becomes a language in itself.  She works on many different presentations from hangings to framed pieces to wearable art and book art. Vicki works with her husband Ron, also an artist, in their studio in Richland.

Wildman was raised near the picturesque Mosel River in Germany. Following her family’s four hundred year tradition of growing grapes and making wine, she spent all her professional life as a winemaker. In 1990 she began working in Washington State. Through the years her passion for creating art led her to explore silk painting, working with stained glass, quilting, and surface design. “There is something immensely satisfying about developing a faint idea into a finished composition, especially with a glass of great wine in hand.”

In addition to the traveling exhibit, approximately twenty-five pieces created by local members of the South Central Association will be displayed for the month of June.  These pieces will be shown in Richland only and will not be traveling to the other venues.

Jurist Layne Goldsmith will make juror remarks and announce honors and recognition at an opening reception held on Sunday, June 5, 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the Gallery.  You are invited to attend and meet the artists!