We are driven by questions around the fragility of materials and time-based craft, the fragility of unsustainable perfection, the fragility of memory, history and utility. The resulting instinct sloughs all this to reveal a harder, less breakable core. This, we nurture and feed.
(We are our mothers.
We are not our mothers.)
Our voices are honed and heard in this skewed realm.
Work is available for purchase in the gallery and at our online store.
Book Arts Workshop “Scene from Home” with Susan Joy Share
Sunday, October 11, 1-3pm (2 hour Zoom session / $25). Learn several simple paper pop-up mechanisms and create a vignette that highlights views in, around or from your home. Please have the following materials and tools on hand – scissors, gluestick, white glue, 8.5” x 11” paper (text and card weight). Optional materials include old drawings/paintings on paper, ephemera, photos, cereal box cartons, office envelopes, drawing/painting supply.
Bio: Sonya Kelliher-Combs was raised in the Northwest Alaska community of Nome. Her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Master of Fine Arts is from Arizona State University. Through her mixed media painting and sculpture, Kelliher-Combs offers a chronicle of the ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaskan context.
Statement: Growing up in Nome, Alaska, I spent summers at our camp where we worked, hunted and gathered food and supplies for the winter. It was there where I learned to listen; listened to learn from family, community members and nature. Through observation and the practice of time-honored traditions — skin sewing, beading, and food preparation — I realized my role as Woman, Daughter, Sister, Wife and Artist. The intimacy of traditional women’s work has allowed me to examine the connections between Western and Indigenous cultures. I examine identity through my work.
Bio: Lowell was born in western Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Fine Arts in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She spent a number of years traveling and living across the United States until moving to Alaska in 1994. Lowell taught a range of classes in art and the humanities at the University of Alaska from 1994 through 2015, and was the Fiber Program Coordinator at UAA. She also served as an arts administrator with the Alaska State Council on the Arts until 2019. Lowell has been a practicing artist for more than 35 years and also loves to sew.
Statement: When the coronavirus pandemic was in the early stages in the United States, I made the decision to move from Alaska to Colorado, mostly to be close to my aging parents. During the move, I shed most of my personal possessions, including my car, artwork, furniture, my library of books, houseplants. I untethered myself to relocate.
Once I arrived in Colorado, the pandemic hit fully, and I admitted that I was going to have to stay put for a while. This gave me time to think. I found myself travelling through memory and time. I started a list of the houses and apartments I’ve lived in since I was born (more than 40). I pulled out the boxes of mementos and maps from my many other travels, letters from old friends, photographs. I asked my parents to tell me stories from their childhood and their early years together.
I can’t travel and move around physically during this time of relative isolation and social distancing, but I have been nomadically traveling through these memories, journals, photographs, maps and stories from my parents and siblings.
My folks took us camping a lot as kids, and I’ve always liked the feeling of going to sleep and waking up in a tent. A tent is a shelter of the simplest kind, easy to pack up and move, easy to store, easy to set up, the perfect home for a nomad.
This tent is sewn from remnants, my sister’s wedding dress, cloth from grandmother’s stash from the 30s and 40s, scraps left over from sewing facemasks. I’ve started drawing the houses I’ve lived in from memory and old photographs and will continue to add them to the tent as I go.
Bio: Anchorage artist, Amy Meissner, combines traditional handwork, found objects and abandoned textiles to reference the literal, physical and emotional work of women. She has undergraduate degrees in Art and Textiles, an MFA in Creative Writing and is currently an MA candidate in Critical Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College.
Statement: Historically, the embroidery sampler represented a young woman’s skill and piousness, a space designated for practice and achieving perfection. The work kept girls busy but quiet, preparing them for an expected domestic role. By cutting apart, re-assembling and re-embroidering abandoned household textiles made by unknown women, this body of work re-interprets the original makers’ and reveals the gritty vulnerability beneath the recognizable comforts of home, whether quilt, table linen, sampler or toy. My manipulation, repetition and mark making is also practicing, telling a different story over and over, trying to get it right, knowing it will never be perfect.
S Hollis Mickey
Bio: Through text, textiles, sculpture, installation and performance, S Hollis Mickey captures and remembers ephemeral, everyday moments– those glimpses of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Hollis is represented by Bivy Gallery.
Statement: On Tarot for Tender Actions
This deck of embroidered tarot cards invites interaction through divination. In tarot practice, someone seeking answers pulls cards. The cards pulled are used to answer the seeker’s questions and to foretell the future. The direction of the card determines the interpretation of the meaning.
Tarot for Tender Actions is designed to propose possibilities. In the midst of isolation, violence, vitriol, and polarization, this deck offers cards that put forward tender, yet potent means for considering futures. Rather than providing answers or dictating destinies, each card is a call to action. This call is not violent or determinate, but like the embroidered cards themselves, soft and care-full. A set of questions and potential conditions is provided in text accompanying the named cards. Each card has an individual interpretation, dependent on direction.
A note for seekers:
Take time with each card. Note your reaction to and interpretation of the image first, before reading the accompanying text. After reading, consider what tender actions you must take in your own life to realize what the cards call for. The future is not something that happens to you.
Susan Joy Share
Bio: Susan Joy Share is passionate about paper and the book form. Her work combines sculpture, painting, bookbinding, sewing and collage. Her abstract architectural forms, figures and pop-ups are colorful and kinetic. She derives inspiration from her deep connection to home, and natural and urban environments.
Statement: My home self, the one that sorts, serves, cooks, cleans and organizes, blends with my creative self. The home sets the stage and filters into many endeavors including my efforts to preserve objects and the environment, as well as grow things in the earth.
As I process life’s mixed messages – expectations and lack thereof, imposed gender roles and the ups and downs of childhood, I draw on skills, love and inspiration. Sewing is a comfort and meditation, so important in these times. The layers in the work hide and reveal. As I build, fold and obsess over minute details, I try to strike a balance and move forward.