The Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center is presenting its first exhibition exclusively dedicated to the fiber arts: the “Textile Extravaganza Show.”
Janis Wood, President of the Art Center, said textile arts are defined as anything made with thread. She said the caliber of the work in the gallery bridges the line between fine art and crafting.
“(The works in the gallery) are pieces of art, let’s face it, they’re gorgeous,” Wood said. “All of these pieces, because they’re so intricately done … I do think they are a step above. They’re textile art.”
“I think people should come to the (Textile Extravaganza) because I think they will be surprised at what people are doing with fabric and threads these days,” said Ann Lee, an artist in the show. “I think a lot of people have (preconceived) notions of what textile or fabric art or quilting is, and it’s usually based on the kind of quilts they’ve seen their grandmother do or the needlework that’s been done, and people are taking those basic traditions ... in totally new ways.”
While many of the pieces in the show can be hung on the wall and used as display pieces, Wood said others have practical uses.
“I would just say it’s not your average art show,” Wood said.
Lee has some mixed-media art quilts she and her daughter made on display at the show.
“They’re quilts in that they’re layers of fabric held together with stitches,” Lee said. “Some of them are embellished; they do a lot of embroidery on them.”
In addition to the gallery show, WCAC has been holding textile workshops. Wood said the textile activities have been very popular so far.
“We’ve had big groups since we opened this show,” Wood said.
Lee said she and her daughter are teaching a few of the workshops. Lee said the classes help show people wanting to get into textiles that they can have fun with the medium.
“Sometimes I think people think of fabric art and that there are rules that have to be followed and it has got to be done in a certain way, and a lot of the new stuff is breaking all those rules,” Lee said.
Because of this exhibition, Wood said the Art Center will be doing more with textile arts in the future.
“We’re so excited to be stepping outside of our own box,” Wood said. “It has opened up a whole new group of artists who are now happy to come to the blue building.”
Want to go?
The show runs through April 5 and is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center, 110 Westover Ave. A full listing of classes and workshops related to the extravaganza is available at visitwcac.net/classes_gen_info.cfm.
Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.