Women’s Journey in Fiber Weekend

This week I spent working on my piece for this year’s Women’s Journey in Fiber project, and that is all I can say about that because the group unveils each year’s body of work at the Fine Art of Fiber Show in November, and until then it is top secret. But I can talk about last year’s show. Last years exhibit was titled “Umbrellas: Open to Ideas”.


This is the first year I joined this group of women in a project. All the women are members in one or all of these groups: Weavers Guild of the North Shore, The North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, and the Illinois Quilters Inc.

It is a fascinating group because they focus on the creative problem-solving process which is a journey studied and used in both art and science. The group meets regularly to present and discuss their ideas, tests, trials and changes in course that lead to the AHA! moment.

The problem statement was: Construct an umbrella/ parasol using textile techniques. The umbrella/ parasol can be inspired by poetry, a song, a movie, art culture or a memory.

We all used purchased frames for our creations and I painted my frame black.

IMG_5198 IMG_5200 IMG_5201

To create the umbrella, we had a pattern and I found a really old piece of fabric in my magical closet, from maybe the late 90’s, for the background that was perfect. Next I drew fairies, flowers, toad stools, etc on that fabric and setup a little area in the living room corner where I could paint them all. I used water color pencils and Derwent Inktense pencils to color and shade all the shapes.

IMG_5213 IMG_5214 IMG_5215 1 Fairie 1 flower

Next I stuffed the shapes, the old fashioned way of doing trapunto, by stitching cheese cloth to the underside of the object, and then opening up the cheese cloth fibers in order to stuff batting in between the top layer and the cheese cloth.

1 trapunto

I did this for each triangle piece and then stitched them all together to create the umbrella outside fabric.


The inside of the umbrella represents underneath the ground where the fairies live and it is a fabric I hand dyed several years ago. I love it because it looks like you are looking up toward the sky.IMG_5211

Each artist must also write a statement describing her inspiration and process that is exhibited alongside her work. My piece is titled: “Fairie Land”, and my statement is the story of the Fairies.

Once upon a time, seven fairies lived just below the earth’s surface. One early spring, one of the fairies found a trickle of rain flowing into her dwelling, and because the rain seemed so fresh against the dark backdrop of where the fairies lived, the fairies thought, ‘if only this fresh coolness could be here always’.
This caused the fairies to follow the rain, venturing above ground, to a magical world where nature was waking from its winter sleep.
The fairies told the other fairies in fairyland about her discovery so all seven ran to the surface to play with the new spring seedlings growing in this magical world.”

The book

The Women’s Journeys in Fiber publishes a book every year, which I am holding in the above photo, describing the problem statement and showing each artist’s creation and statement. You can purchase books at: http://www.blurb.com/b/6561747-umbrellas-open-to-ideas

The exhibit debut at the Fine Art of Fiber Show, in the Chicago Botanical Gardens, always draws a huge crowd. Here is a panorama shot and some closeups.

Panorama Crowd1 Crowd

Many visitors want to touch the items on exhibit so there is a “touch me” display where each artist can have a small sample of their techniques available for touching.

Touch me being touched

And, now for some of my favorites at the show.

Umb1 Umb3 Umb2

Umb7 Umb6 Umb5 Umb4 Umb10 Umb9 Umb8 Umb15 Umb14 Umb12 Umb11 Umb13

Umb mine

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