ATHM Presents Fiberart International 2013

June 1, 2014, Lowell, Mass. — The American Textile History Museum is delighted to present Fiberart International 2013, the 21st in a series of triennial juried exhibitions that are widely considered a benchmark for documenting trends and innovations in the field of fiber art. The exhibit runs July 11 – October 26, 2014.

Fiberart International seeks to exhibit the best of contemporary art, reflecting a wide range of works related to the fiber medium. Sponsored by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc.,the exhibition first opened in Pittsburgh in April of 2013, after which the works were divided into two groups for travelling.

“The goal of the exhibition is to include innovative work rooted in traditional fiber materials, processes, and history, as well as art that explores unexpected relationships between fiber and other creative disciplines,” said Dr. David Unger, ATHM Director of Interpretation. “Visitors will be enthralled by the textures, colors, and sheer physical power of these pieces, which stir a range of emotions experienced in the presence of the art.”

Featuring works by established and emerging artists from around the world, Fiberart International provides a unique opportunity to see current trends and innovations in this constantly evolving medium. The artists hail from countries as varied as Canada, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, as well as cities throughout the United States. In jurors’ statements, the panelists express a preference for work that is technically proficient but also innovative, expressive, and unclassifiable — art that provides a cohesive package of concept, form, structure, scale, color and material. Jurors for the exhibit were lighting designer Paulina Ortiz, fiber artist Kai Chan, and multimedia artist Joyce Scott.

Exploring themes ranging from political issues and women’s rights to dreams and sexuality, the artists blend traditional and nontraditional techniques, with work ranging from realism to abstract, from miniature to prodigious, and from handmade to machine-made. The pieces showcase traditional materials such as cotton, linen and silk, as well as surprising non-traditional materials, including measuring tapes, dental floss, wax, and used lottery tickets. Techniques range from traditional embroidery and weaving with more contemporary processes such as laminating, digital printing and burning.

About the American Textile History Museum

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the American Textile History Museum tells America’s story through the art, history, and science of textiles. In addition to its core exhibition and rotating special exhibitions, ATHM holds the world’s largest and most important publicly held collections of tools, spinning wheels, hand looms, and early production machines; more than five million pieces of textile prints, fabric samples, rolled textiles coverlets, and costumes; and the renowned Osborne Library.


Sample pieces of Fiberart International 2013

High-resolution images of all pieces in the exhibition are available upon request.


Rebecca Siemering’s Captain America Suit reflects our yearning for a quick path to “the good life,” that in the end is manifested from one’s own labor. Comprised of dental floss and discarded lottery tickets Siemering found in her travels, Captain America is her effort “to make something from nothing, inch by inch and stitch by stitch, to get through the day and make it shine.”

Captain America Suit : 2011
Found lottery tickets dental floss, man’s suit
72″ X 30″ X 24″


Rowen Schussheil-Anderson’s Crimson Prelude I was inspired by butterflies she observed in the Amazonian rainforest. “Butterflies represent progressions found in nature, designs ranging from orderly to fluid, from complex to formal symmetry. While grids offer structure, organic grids, like curvilinear labyrinths, impose structure upon the abstract.”  

Crimson Prelude I : 2011
Fiber beads woven, coiled
48″ X 52″ X 5″




The materials for Sandra Jane Heard’s Vestiges of Emancipation were chosen to exploit their weathered quality and to add a sense of conformism. “I hope that the work serves as a testament to the unity and steadfastness of the suffragette movement, while also expressing the continuing struggle for equality and freedom still being sought by women around the world today.”

Vestiges of Emancipation 2011
Vintage woven steel tape measures


Leslie Pearson describes her work as “an investigation into memory, identity, and the transformative value of communication.” She creates pieces to visually express experiences—both lived and imagined—in response to her environment and relationships.

That Which Is Empty, May Be Filled: 2009
Wire, paper, wax, paint
60″ X 36″ X 36″
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