Janet Austin chaired the 2014 version of the unjuried small format show put on by the American Tapestry Alliance. The show was in her home state of Rhode Island. Some people had expressed a desire to have no theme, so that became the theme, “Untitled/Unjuried.”
Of course, the members of the Damascus Fiber Arts School like to stick together so we decided to make our theme “Bugs: All Dressed Up.” It was a theme that could be interpreted in many ways. It also went along with the theme of our big exhibit coming up in 2015 at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon. That larger show was called “All Dressed Up” and featured about 65 tapestries, if I remember correctly.
These dressed up bugs are shown in the tapestries of 17 weavers. Some are realistic bugs, spiders, moths, beetles, crabs, butterflies and lady bugs. Some are more humorous, like the beetle with a top hat and cane, or the bug squished under the high-heeled shoe. Others are abstract, like “Native Spirit of the Water” or “Spider Spirit: Nah-ahsh-jayee Ahs-dzah.” Each one has a story to tell.
The American Tapestry Alliance scored the Long Beach, California, Main Branch Public Library for this small format unjuried show, “Pacific Portals.”
The show was huge and took up all the wall space, including boards in the entry, and several vitrines on the mezzanine. It was amazing and very popular with the public and the attendees of Convergence.
Fourteen members of the Damascus Fiber Arts School sent tapestries to Long Beach. Eight of us traveled to the show, renting a house and visiting the vendors and other exhibits at Convergence while there. We enjoyed meeting other weavers from the ATA and hearing the speakers, Archie Brennan and Jean Pierre Larochette.
Our tapestries were themed from the main “Pacific Portals” to the more specific “Scenes Along the Columbia River”. The Columbia River runs between the states of Oregon and Washington and is historically and currently very important to us.
New Mexico was host to the 2010 version of the American Tapestry Alliance unjuried small format tapestry exhibit: Enchanted Pathways.
By now the members of the Damascus Fiber Arts School are looking forward to a cohesive project with a special interpretation of the theme. We decided to use SHOES as our theme. After all, one needs to get down that pathway in some manner.
This time we chose to use a common palette and yarn. We had several dyeing sessions to make the colors requested. I think we dyed 36 different pots of Shepherd’s Shade yarn from the Brown Sheep Company in Nebraska.
Eighteen weavers participated in this group challenge. We later showed our portion of this exhibit at two other venues in our area- Timberline Lodge and the Sandy Public Library.
The 2008 small format unjuried show was held in Tampa, Florida and the theme seemed to be related to buried treasure, “Woven Gems.”
The spirit of the group challenge had changed. It was no longer challenging to get people to enter, but still a challenge to get the tapestries finished on time. This year our group had several new weavers, as well as the more experienced ones from previous shows. Thirteen members of the Damascus Fiber Arts School participated in this exhibit.
Our tapestries were gems of a personal nature, including scenery, flowers, birds, pets, places of solitude, pretty girls, as well as a woven gemstone.
The small format unjuried show for 2006 was themed “Grand Ideas” because it was held in conjunction with the HGA convergence in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Our weaving group at Damascus Fiber Arts School, outside of Portland, Oregon, decided to weave about Grand Ideas of Portland. This group challenge sent in entries related to the Portland Rose Festival Ducky Derby and Dragonboat Races, the famous Portland Rose, a hot air balloon festival, bicycling in Portland, a view of the skyline, and a Portland Grandma to enjoy it all.
Again I apologize for the not-so-good photos and hope I get better by 2010.
The American Tapestry Alliance sponsors a small format, unjuried tapestry show in conjunction with the Handweavers Guilds of America Convergence every two years. People of all skill levels are encouraged to enter. Pieces cannot be larger than 10 inches by 10 inches. A catalog is produced and each entrant receives a copy.
There is a feature called a “group challenge” that our weaving group has entered. The first time we entered was the fifth show, called “Frontiers”. It was in Denver, Colorado. Our group consists of weavers at the Damascus Fiber Arts School, outside of Portland, Oregon.
We explored the idea of frontiers in several ways. Some tapestries, like “Covered Wagon”, “Oregon Trail” , “Mini Chief’s Blanket” , “Laura’s Pitcher Pump” and “Frontier Lady” looked back at the history of the American West. “She Who Watches” captures an image of a Native American petroglyph along the Columbia River. “Ships and Boats” recognizes the frontiers on our oceans. “Double Helix” remarks upon the frontier of science. “Frontier Spirit” challenges Mars and space as a new frontier.
Our group’s tapestries are shown here. Digital cameras weren’t so good then, and neither were my photography skills, but I think you will get the idea.
We really enjoyed participating as a group and were off to a roaring start.