For decades, the Reedy River was the conduit from which fabric flowed from Greenville to all over the country.
In the latest Riverworks Gallery exhibition, that was reversed.
For “Textiles in a Tube 2,” artists from all over the United States and Canada sent textile and fabric art to the Reedy River for possible display in Greenville Technical College’s downtown Greenville gallery in Suite 202 at Art Crossing on the Reedy River.
The exhibition runs through July 15.
“Anybody who knows Greenville’s history knows that textiles have had a colorful history on the Reedy, sometimes turning the river green or pink or blue,” said Fleming Markel, director of Riverworks. “The practical muslins and denims woven in the river’s past have been replaced with art woven with thought and ingenuity by these artists.”
Fourteen artists will have pieces in the exhibition. All pieces had to fit into a 3-inch by 36-inch mailing tube, including hanging hardware.
One piece includes 1,440 textile circles -cut perfectly to fit into the tube – that are screen-printed.
Several pieces could be defined as quilts, although they are not typically what people think of when they hear “quilt,” Markel said.
“They are much closer to an abstract painting than what people normally think of as a quilt,” she said. “Some have miles and miles of machine stitching, while some were stitched by hand.”
“Bully Shield,” a piece by Andrew Steinbrecher, uses an umbrella and reflects the artist’s experiences being bullied in middle and high school.
“At the time, I wanted a way to shield myself from the words and actions that were raining down on me,” he wrote in his artist statement. “I tried my best to protect myself but their anger and hate got through to me; it was never easy to fully deflect their words.”
Steinbrecher’s piece folds down, then is put away and forgotten, much like society does with bullying, he said.
Kit Vincent’s “Bel Canto 2” got its title from the audiobook the artist listened to while she was machine-quilting the piece. She must use noise-erasing headphones to eliminate the noise made by the sewing machine.
“This eliminates all ambient sounds in the room and I quickly become totally engrossed in the subject I am listening to,” she wrote.
Later, when looking at the piece, she remembers what she was listening to when she made it.
“Specific details in the piece will bring back vivid passages of the book,” she said. “For me, this subject matter is now forever linked to the work.”
Juror Kathleen Loomis, a former newspaper journalist and an award-winning fiber artist, said while textile art is rooted in the most ancient techniques and traditions, it has “long since escaped its boundaries and can continue to find new areas of exploration.”