Threads of Life: Fiber Artists and the Living World
Maura C. Flannery, Division of Computer Science, Math and Science, College of Professional Studies
Abstract: I report on my conversations, via telephone and email, with several female fiber artists concerning their interests in the living world. I asked a series of questions: why do you use these particular organisms (or portions of them or images of them) in your work; do you feel the need to learn about these organisms—to observe them alive; do you think that you learn more about them in the act of creating your work; do you see a natural affinity between your medium and your subjects? Through the answers, I discovered that many of these artists had intimate knowledge of their subjects and often collaborated with research scientists, using laboratory equipment in their observations. Several also had feminist and environmental agendas for their work. In these conversations, I became aware of how deeply involved in the living world these artists were and how they saw fiber art as particularly suitable for their artistic aims.