“Contemporary Fiber in Florida,” a juried exhibition at Florida CraftArt showcases innovative approaches to traditional fiber techniques, includes weaving, surface design, wearable art, basketry, beading and textile dyeing. It features 40 artists from around the state of Florida, from Tallahassee to Sunrise. The opening reception and awards presentation are on March 13, 2020, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the exhibit runs through May 3.
This inventive show is curated by Cindy Bartosek, a West Palm Beach-based artist and educator. Ms. Bartosek specializes in tapestry weaving, botanical eco-printing, and photography, as well as photographic printing on fiber.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to curate this exhibition celebrating the evolving field of fiber art and the remarkable creativity and innovation of Florida artists who are pushing the boundaries of their chosen media,” Ms. Bartosek says. “More than 170 pieces were considered for the exhibition and 67 pieces by 40 artists were selected. They highlight the diversity of the genre today, expressing a wide range of ideas, inspiration and personal stories, giving a modern sensibility to ancient techniques and time-honored traditions.”
The show will be judged for awards by Christine Renc-Carter, curator for the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs and mixed-media artist. Ms. Renc-Carter has a vast career as both an artist and museum professional in both the Baltimore-Washington D. C. area and Florida. As a curator, she has worked with the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Vero Beach Museum of Art, Gulf Coast Museum of Art and St. Petersburg College, and as an artist she has work in various museum and private collections both nationally and internationally.
Artists selected for this exhibition are taking their traditional knowledge of fiber craft and bounding vibrantly into an incredible range of works that speak far beyond visuals.
Nneka Jones, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, is a Fine Art major at the University of Tampa. She uses her skills in embroidery to create a stirring “Target” series of fiber portraits rendered in painstaking detail. Her series is meant to highlight victimized, “targeted” individuals, and to encourage conversation around the idea of who is a “victim” in certain societies. Ms. Jones considers the intensely physical embroidery process as integral to her artmaking.
The strenuous nature of fiber processes is highlighted in Bobbi Baugh’s quilted works that are made with hand-printed fabrics. In her home studio in Deland, Ms. Baugh builds up high detail on fabric by monoprinting, painting, photo transfer and resist. These fabrics are collaged together and turned into art quilts. The highly textured and colorful pieces explore dreamscapes, memory, and serve as a method of storytelling.
One of the most liberating elements of working with fiber is its tactility and vibrancy. For Port St. Lucie-based Esta Rubin, moving from traditional printmaking into quilting was a creative journey after becoming legally blind. Ms. Rubin says that these pieces are wonderfully textured, tactile art quilts that are a “pathway to use her artistic vision.” In “Dan Mask,” Ms. Rubin explores the rich history of mask-making by the Dan peoples of Liberia.
Florida CraftArt will host Fiber Art Weekends, a series of workshops and performances occurring on three weekends in conjunction with the exhibition. Saturday, March 14, will kick off Fiber Art Weekends with an opportunity to meet and drink coffee with the artists from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Brooksville artist Susan Lumsden will teach a two-day workshop, “Breakdown Screenprinting,” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (and continued Sunday. Artist Bonnie Bruner will teach a “Stitch Meditation Workshop” from noon to 4 p.m.
On Sunday, March 15, Ms. Bartosek will give a curator’s talk at 12:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m. exhibiting Sarasota artist Cassia Kite will expand the world of fiber into the realm of music with a live “Soundstitching” performance.
The second of the Fiber Art Weekends will feature a “Fabric Collage” workshop taught by Marlene Glickman from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 18.
Friday, May 1, curator Cindy Bartosek will teach “Imagery on Fiber” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Saturday, May 2, workshop, “African Hearts” with Kianga Jinaki, will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 1 to 4 p.m., Gin Blische will teach participants how to make a “Needle-Felted Frog.”
On Saturday, May 2, artists will speak about their work and techniques from 4 to 5 p.m., and the closing reception for Contemporary Fiber in Florida will follow from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The People’s Choice Award will be presented, and visitors can meet the artists and curator.
The artists featured in “Contemporary Fiber in Florida” are breathing a new life into these age-old techniques. Fiber and textile traditions are universal and cross-cultural, and they are and always have been an integral element to our way of life. These labor-intensive, physical pieces cross boundaries and join the worlds of conceptuality, spirituality and craft by highlighting the element of the handmade. This exhibition is an exploration into a medium that is often misunderstood and is a beautiful representation of how vibrant the world of fiber is for artists in Florida.
“Contemporary Fiber in Florida” exhibition and programming are generously sponsored by Jeannine Hascall, the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Foundation, Viirtue Business VoIP, City of St. Petersburg, and the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs.
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Admission is free. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,500-square-foot retail gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent exhibition gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.
Saturday, March 14
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop: Breakdown Screenprinting with Susan Lumsden, continues on Sunday, March 15. Fee: FCA member: $155 Nonmember: $175
10 to 11:30 a.m. Coffee with the Artists
Noon to 4 p.m. Workshop: Stitch Meditation with Bonnie Bruner, FCA member: $25 Nonmember: $45
Sunday, March 15
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop: Breakdown Screenprinting with Susan Lumsden, from March 14
12:30 p.m. Curator’s talk Cindy Bartosek
2:30-4 p.m. Soundstitching Performance-Cassia Kite
Saturday, April 18
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop: Fabric Collage with Marlene Glickman, FCA member: $115 Nonmember: $135
Friday, May 1
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop: Imagery on Fiber with Cindy Bartosek, FCA member: $65 Nonmember: $85
Saturday, May 2
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop: African Hearts with Kianga Jinaki, FCA member: $45 Nonmember: $65
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop: Needle-Felted Frog with Gin Blische, FCA member: $40 Nonmember: $60
4 to 5 p.m. Artists’ Talks
5 to 6:30 p.m. Closing Reception, People’s Choice Award, and meet the artists and curator
About the Curator:
After receiving a degree in home economics education from Florida State University, Cindy Bartosek worked as an extension home economics instructor teaching classes for children and adults. She later earned a Master of Public Health degree in Nutrition from UNC-Chapel Hill and began a 30-year career in public health. Photography became her creative expression.
After retiring, she began exploring a wide variety of fiber techniques through classes and workshops with nationally and internationally recognized instructors. She enjoys working in multiple mediums, including tapestry weaving and botanical printing, both of which she teaches. To merge her interests in photography and fiber art, she is working with multiple mediums and techniques to incorporate her images in her fiber work.
Cindy has won numerous awards for both her photographs and fiber art which have been shown in juried and invitational exhibitions and group shows around Florida and in New York City. She has added another dimension to her fiber art experience by curating and jurying fiber art exhibitions. Cindy teaches at the Armory Art Center and other venues around the state.
In addition to creating art, Cindy is a founding member of the South Florida Fiber Guild serving as social media administrator. She is a member of the Surface Design Association and the South Florida Surface Design Association.
About the Judge:
Christine Renc-Carter has spent a lifetime deeply rooted in the pursuit of art. Born into an artistic family in Safety Harbor, Florida, she traveled the country with her artist parents and discovered printmaking at an early age in her father’s studio. Earning a BFA in Printmaking from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in 1997, she also studied paper preservation at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She has since cultivated a unique artistic career as an artist and museum professional, working for galleries and museums in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area and in Florida for 20 years.
As the Curator for the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, Renc-Carter’s expertise in contemporary Florida art and fine crafts has led to a robust exhibition program at the museum. She has worked with the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Vero Beach Museum of Art, Gulf Coast Museum of Art and St. Petersburg College. She was also involved with the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s expansion of state-of-the-art studios dedicated to fine craft and multi-media disciplines and curated exhibitions for Florida International Museum and Florida Craft Art.
As an accomplished artist, she shows her mixed-media work throughout the United States and Japan and her work is included in collections such as the Marriott Corporation and NBC, and the Curator of the Fogg Museum at Harvard University.