Thursday, September 17, 2009

Contemporary Fiber Art

Flint Handmade participated in the Flint Festival of Quilts on September 10, 11, and 12, 2009!

We featured mostly small scale contemporary fiber art from over 10 local artists and crafters in our exhibition at The Lunch Studio. Quilted lap blankets, clothing, accessories, home décor and other items were on display. A variety of materials were showcased in quilted form, including yarn, vintage fabric and men’s neckties.

Check out the pics and descriptions from our exhibition guide!

1. Fabric Accessories by Christa Irons
Christa Irons provided three fabric-based accessories, which she sells under the name Ms. Christa’s Accessories at You can reach her at

1a. Simple But Beautiful Ribbon Hair Flower (2009, $12)
“I made by hand gathering the ribbon then sewing a fun vintage looking button in the center. Fun to wear to a wedding or just a night on the town. It attaches to your hair with a 2 inch alligator clip.”

1b. Upcycled! Headband (2009, $15)
“This fun headband is made form upholstery fabric samples. First I cut out the leaves then serged around the outside so they wouldn't fray to much. Then I cut out a bunch of rectangles and just free hand serged the flower petals. The heart shaped button was a freebie that I got with a trim order I love how it looks in the center. Glued to a 1/2 inch black metal headband.”

1c. Roses Are Red Headband (2009, $22)
“This beautiful headband is made with 3 dark red rose in the stages of opening. I attached the roses then layered leaves to give this pretty headband a fall wedding look.”

2. Wedding Dress by Brooklyn Awad (2008, NFS)
This dress was handcrafted by Brooklyn Awad, a Flint artist who specializes in creating original designs out of recycled items. Brooklyn's designs have been showcased in several local fashion shows. This dress was worn by Jessica Nickola when she married Corey Planck on April 20, 2008. It was also modeled at Beauty and the Beat.

Brooklyn Awad can be reached at 810-701-0106.

3. Crazy Quilt Tree Skirt by Crystal Pepperdine (2006-2009, NFS)
“Sometimes craft projects take a long time to come to fruition. In 2005, I had an idea to make a new Christmas tree skirt, stocking and ornaments in coordinating colors every year. I would use the set for that year and then gift it on to a friend, relative or charity the following year. I tried to make this tree skirt in 2006, but I was overwhelmed by sewing together all the pieces and the project sat untouched until the Festival of Quilts gave me a reason to finish it. I will finally get to use the tree skirt in 2009. I am donating it to Flint Handmade after the holidays, so look for it in a future FH fundraiser. It took almost 5 years to complete this project, but it was worth it.”

Crystal Pepperdine is the Executive Director of Flint Handmade. She sells her crafts under the name beautiful JUNK and donates half of all profits to the Humane Society of Genesee County. Visit her Etsy store at or email

4. Multigenerational Family Fabric Art by Sarah Richter
Sarah Richter provided three pieces of fabric art made by women in her family. She sells her crocheted and fabric items under the name yarnscratch. You can reach her at

4a. Sweet Music Quilt Top by Lue Ellen Smith (c. 1994, NFS)
“This quilt top was made about fifteen years ago. Not long after it was completed, a few members of my family moved into the house I already shared with my parents and grandparents. One of the first rooms to be put to everyday use by them was my grandma's quilting room. Everything of hers was moved out and packed away and everything of theirs was moved in and spread out. I was glad to have more of our family with us but to this day I'm still sorry my grandma never got to finish this quilt and I'm even more sorry she rarely got the chance to practice one of her few joys in life after that. After she passed away, four and a half years ago, I received this quilt top, along with a crocheted table cloth she had not yet finished. I will probably never complete either project because although I have the capacity, I lack her skills.

This quilt top is made with simple cotton, embroidery floss, and sewing thread. While it was pieced together by machine, if it had been finished, my grandma would have hand-quilted the finished layers.”

4b. Wedding Afghan by Ann Hobson (c. 1979, NFS)
“My great aunt on my father's side crocheted this afghan as a wedding present to my parents almost thirty years ago! They used it for many years on their bed, then moved it to their couch when they got a larger bed. Eventually it was packed up because it just didn't go with anything. While I can appreciate wanting a nice decor, I can also appreciate the kitschiness of this awesome blanket. When I found it in my parents' garage I saved it from being thrown out and now it has a home on my couch. My Aunt Ann is getting to be pretty old and she doesn't crochet much anymore but I'm pretty sure almost everyone in my father's family had a blanket similar to this at one time or another.

It's made from old acrylic yarn so it's a little bit itchy but it sure is warm.”

4c. Baby Quilt by Sarah Richter (2009, NFS)
This is my first quilt. There are a few reasons it's so small. Firstly, I have two babies who like to wrap up in soft blankets; the smaller the better! Secondly, I bought all the flannel for it on remnants racks or I received scraps of it from friends. Thirdly, I am a perfectionist. Fourthly (and this ties in with number three), I am just plain bad with large projects. If I'm going to do something, especially something for which I have no actual instruction or set way of doing it, I want it to be just right. With a large project I just lose interest too easily. This quilt is not perfect; in fact, some of it should probably be torn out and redone. However, the lines are mostly straight, most of the corners match up pretty well, and most importantly, my babies love it. I regret that I paid so little attention to my grandma when she was piecing her quilts together because I'm sure I could've learned a lot. I suppose that someday I will branch out of square and rectangle pieces and be a little more adventurous in my quilting forays but for now I'm pretty happy.

This quilt is made with flannel, sewing thread, a fuzzy acrylic blend for the back, and embroidery floss.”

5. Waterfall Shawl by Jami Anderson (2008, $100)
“This piece, like all my felting projects, began as an experiment. Years ago I had been given thousands of yards of yarn. (That’s not an exaggeration.) Although some of the yarns were “mystery fibers” most were 100% wool 5, 10 or even 15 lb cones. I have no idea where the yarn originally came from though stickers inside the cones mentioned places in Flint and the surrounding area that I know no longer exist. The colors, too, were a throwback to another time. There were no “fun yarns” one sees for sale now, or the kettle dyed wools from Paraguay or other exotic places. I had no idea how the yarn would feel knitted, how it would drape or hold up to wear. So, with no goal in mind other than to find out what this yarn can do, I set up my knitting machine and got to it. For this piece I used two different blues; at the start I used 2 plys of one color, then in the middle I used one of each, and then at the end with 2 plys of the other color. Since I was not plating the yarn (which is when the knitting machine assigns one yarn to be in front and the other to be in back) the yarns took turns being the front and back yarn, which is why the piece is striped. I think it is interesting that the stripes are different widths: there was no way to know how it would stripe or how wide the stripes would be. The finished knitted piece was about 11 feet long and over a yard wide. The yarn was very rough and curled tightly, like a giant scratchy worm. Like that it was unwearable. After felting it is wonderfully soft and lays flat with only the edges curling slightly, which I think makes the piece look very fluid.

Felting is always a step into the unknown. There is no way to know in advance how the yarn will change, what it will feel like or even how blended colors will work together. I may think I am the designer but the yarn is in charge.”

Jami Anderson is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan-Flint and an avid knitter. Visit her blog at

6. Log Cabin Crochet by Nayyirah Shariff (2009, Price on Request)
“The reason I learned how to crochet was to recreate a kufi for my boyfriend as a struggling college student. The crochet stuck and he didn’t. Crochet is therapy for me; I use it to curb my ADD tendencies.

I’m not a quilter, but I admire the role quilting and quilts have played in the African American experience. I wanted to fuse an iconic quilting pattern (Log Cabin) and crochet stitches (granny square, post, puff, and basketweave stitches). The basting pins are a nod to tools used in quilting. This piece is made from acrylic, nylon, cotton, and polyester yarn and safety pins.

I started Crochet Science earlier this year to sell my custom handcrafted crochet goods. I am constantly experimenting with new materials and creating new and interesting things to crochet. I crochet everywhere: in meetings, at Flint city Council, and at home (see above ADD tendencies). You can see me bopping around Flint and Genesee County with my crochet in tow.”

Nayyirah Shariff sells Crochet Science at local craft markets and online at She teaches intergenerational crochet classes at the Brennan Community Center in Flint every Tuesday. Email her at

7. Diaper Bag by Michelle Stolz (2008, NFS)
“I made this diaper bag to use for my son, Milo, who was born in 2008. The bag was inspired by and created from a repurposed factory-made quilt and a vintage bed-sheet. I like to use vintage fabrics, accessories, and other treasures to create purses, book bags, coasters, wallets, and a variety of glassware items to recreate into items for the home.”

Michelle Stolz is a Flint Handmade committee member and sells under the name Aisle Three at Check out Aisle Three at FlintStock on September 26th at the Flint Institute of Arts and the Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market on December 5th at The Lunch Studio.

8. Appliqué Scrap Patchwork Bags and Fiber Art by Koliye Speck
Koliye Speck provided three fabric pieces. She sells her fiber art under the name The Living Thread. You can reach her at

8a. Ketchup & Mustard Bag (2009, $28)
“This bag is from my best friend series. The series was inspired by a dancing peanut butter and jelly bread bag that I made for the Flint Handmade Spring Market.”

8b. Sushi Fiber Art (2009, $30)
“I made this piece because I love sushi. It is made mostly from scraps from the fabric I use for my bags.”

8c. Out to Sea Bag (2009, NFS)
“This is what is considered to be new school tattoo style. I work at Electric Chair Tattoo so a lot of my artwork is inspired by the different styles in the tattoo industry.”

9. Recycled Pop Top by Jessica Nickola Planck (2007, $40)
This top was handcrafted out of pop cardboard boxes and thread by Jessica Nickola Planck, a local artist and community organizer in Flint, MI. Jessica has been an active member of the Greater Flint Creative Alliance since 2005. She is also a practicing social worker in the mental health field. Recycled Pop Top has been displayed at Rubbichic at The Flint Institute of Arts and modeled at Beauty and the Beat, a diverse music and fashion show.

Jessica Nickola Planck may be contacted at For more information about Beauty and the Beat, please visit

10. Tattoo-Inspired Bibs by Amy Kelsey (2009, $15 each)
“I started making these tattoo inspired bibs two years ago as a gift for my oldest friend in the world. My best friend Barb, a girl who rides Motocross, is bedecked in glorious tattoo ink and has never taken any guff from anyone, was having her first baby. This is not a girl who would be happy with the array of pastel baby animals she was going to have to choose her baby accessories from! Consequently the idea for the Flash Tattoo baby bib was born. I whipped up my first baby skull bib, and the sacred heart, and the enthusiasm for the cute toughness of the project was where my foray into crafting for profit was born.”

Amy Kelsey is half of the bicoastal crafting partnership that is Made with Luv and a proud committee member of Flint Handmade. Her work is available on Etsy. Visit her website at

11. Olive’s Baby Quilt by Stephanie Bills (2009, NFS)
“The 'Olive’ quilt was made for my daughter Olive Mae. She was born July 7, 2009. After attending a good friend Jami Anderson's mid life crisis craft give away, I acquired a material that inspired me overnite to create Olive a baby quilt. I added the pockets to hold her favorite stuffed animals so they can be tucked in for bed with her. This quilt is made out of 100% recycled fabric.”

Stephanie Bills crafts under the name Frankenstitch Productions. She can be reached at

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