After COVID-19 cancelled their 2020 event, the annual show and sale hosted by the Kingston Fibre Artists is back for 2021 at the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning.
Art Threads 2021 opened on Oct. 23 and is running until Nov. 4. The Journal spoke with show coordinator Linda Coulter about how the Kingston Fibre Artists continually create beautiful art using textiles.
“[Kingston Fibre Artists] is a cooperative, in the sense that it’s not open to the public,” Coulter said.
“It’s by invitation only. based on skill level and ability to get along with the rest of the members. This is our 22nd show.”
The Fibre Artists group currently has 15 members connected by their desire to host an annual show and sale. They meet monthly to socialize and help each other develop as artists. Coulter said the group is stitched together by their collective use of textiles.
“There’s no obligation to make any particular kind of art—you can do abstract, realistic, wall-hangings, or anything you want—but the idea is that [Kingston Fibre Artists] use textiles in some fashion.”
The group usually holds their annual show in April. However, limitations and restrictions imposed by the pandemic ultimately pushed their year’s event into the fall.
Their comprehensive Art Threads 2021 gallery features over 60 pieces from 13 group members and in a wide variety of different artistic styles. This opportunity to proudly display their work for the public is long overdue for many group members.
“The work is quite extraordinary this year,” Coulter said.
“I find it very inspired this year, and I think it’s because it’s been two-and-a-half years since our last show in April of 2019. [Our artists] have gotten to choose their favourite pieces, and I think it certainly shows.”
Yes, despite the beauty seen in their finished products, Coulter acknowledged the last few years have hardly been pretty for many artists—many members within the group had their creative energy and process disrupted by all facets of COVID-19.
“I would say the group is fifty-fifty. There are certain people in the group who have felt that [the pandemic] killed their creativity, and that they couldn’t get their head around creating like they used to.”
Coulter, however, doesn’t count herself as one of them.
“I had a huge time of creativity. I think for me, the reason my output increased was because I had more time. When COVID came, I had some real dedicated time.”
“It did change my work,” she added. “It changed my palette a bit. You know, it was a little bit more muted than normal. It certainly wasn’t intentional, but probably [reflected] my mood.”
The work on display for Art Threads 2021 embodies these mixed emotions. Coulter believes the pandemic ultimately pushed the entire group into new artistic territory.
“It doesn’t mean that they’re negative pieces, but they’re certainly unusual for that member, and they probably wouldn’t have it made them during normal times.”
See the gallery for yourself now at the Tett Centre.
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