Monday, January 10, 2011

Marilyn Pappas: Imperfect Beauty in Perfected Stitches

Last November,  I volunteered at SOFA 2010 (International Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair 2010) in Chicago, Illinois.  SOFA is one of the world's premier fairs for contemporary  decorative arts and design.   Collectors from all over the world visit SOFA each year in search of the best in contemporary art.   The aisles of SOFA overflowed with glass, wood, and metal sculptures.  However the hard lines of these mediums were softened with various offerings from fiber artists.  As a fiber arts enthusiasts, I was disappointed by the small number of fiber artists represented at SOFA.  But as a fiber artist, I realized the huge market potential for an artist willing to press the limitless possibilities of fiber.  In this week's posts, I will highlight some fiber artists featured at SOFA 2010.
Nike with Broken Wing (2006), Marilyn Pappas
Marilyn Pappas is a fiber artist who began her career in 1960.   Her hand stitched drawings on linen focus on the imperfection of beauty.   The labor intensive and meticulous stitches seem to float above the fabric.   Her work was filled with an airiness which pulled me at my emotions.  I felt both sadness and respect for beauty that was once awe-inspiring but waned over time.  It reminded me that our whole selves will one day be forgotten.  However, pieces of us will be forever immortalized in the memories of those who remain.
Ms. Pappas's intricate stitch work fascinated me.   I am learning  to use thread to "paint" the details and contours of my fabric pieces.  Ms. Pappas has perfected this technique.  Her  thread color choices, wide-ranging stitch lengths, and varied stitch density effectively gave her work dimension.   Her choice of fine sheer linen as the  foundation for her pieces provided an airiness which unexpectedly supported the weightiness of her stitches.  
Ms. Pappas declares in one of her artist statements that "…I choose to express my ideas in a direct but labor-intensive way, grateful for the comfort and pleasure that comes from handwork, developed slowly over time.  In this high speed world I rejoice in the meditative process of the work…."   I am also fond of the relaxing nature of hand stitching.  In this age of technology generated art, I was refreshed by an artist who embraced the beauty and soulful benefits of traditional techniques.  How are you using time-honored strategies to embrace beauty and nurture the soul?

1 comment:

  1. Glad to catch a glimpse of your efforts. I have been swamped!