Sunday, December 23, 2012

Patricia Anderson Turner's Fiber Art

Vintage Girl Scout sewing badge
Like many girls, I was a Girl Scout when I was young.  Of course, I was keen to get as many badges as possible to show off my myriad talents.  This era of my life came to a screeching halt when I tried to acquire the sewing badge.   Learning to sew was not one of those things that was on my mother's "to do" list when she was growing up, so sewing was not a skill that came to me naturally.  I have some vague memories of a neighbor trying to teach me how to cut some fabric and hem it on her sewing machine and things going totally haywire.   To this day, I can barely sew on a button.

"Mud Cookies"
Given my total and absolute lack of both artistic talent and sewing capabilities, I am appreciative of the skills of artists who choose natural fibers as the medium for their work.  I visited Common Thread's Fiber Fascination exhibit at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda last week and was amazed at the variety of works and their detail.  While I give credit to all of the artists for their creations, I was particularly taken with the works done by Patricia Anderson Turner.  Her fiber painting entitled "Mud Cookies" literally leaps off the wall.  While I love the work, it was Turner's commentary that gave it real impact.  In Haiti, grain is so scarce that women resort to making "cookies" out of mud, clay, salt, and shortening.  These creations are sold at the markets there as a food product, and many pregnant women rely on these "cookies" for their nutrition.  (Just remember that before you lament the turkey on your holiday table being a bit dry.)  "Mud Cookies" is on sale for $2000, with the net proceeds to go to Doctors Without Borders.  I hope that there's an art collector out there with a social conscience and deep pockets who will acquire this work.

"My One Particular Harbor"
Turner also has a beautiful silk painting in the Abstract exhibit now on at the VAC called, "My One Particular Harbor."  I love the fact that Turner used the gorgeous reds and pinks of a sunrise or sunset rather than the blues typically associated with water.   I can imagine her holding strips of her hand-dyed fabrics up as she watched the setting sun to see if she had captured the colors she was seeking.  When looking at the work up close, I appreciated the craftmanship that went into its creation.  When looking at it from across the room, I was able to really see the harbor and enjoy the view.

Walking through the exhibits at the VAC made me realize once again how many talented people we have in our community.  It's a pleasure to live somewhere that sparks inspiration in all types of artists.  Here's to a new year in which we enjoy the beauty around us.

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