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Fiberworks artists' exhibition presents blend of traditional methods, unconventional ideas

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After three decades, "Fiberworks" has evolved from an open show of fiber crafts to a juried exhibit of art that weaves the contemporary with the traditional.

The annual exhibit, organized by Fiber Artists of Oklahoma, opened at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery on June 6, which marked "Fiberworks"' 30th year of exhibition.

"Fiber art is a term that started out as traditional," said Sue Moss Sullivan, "Fiberworks" co-founder. "Many artists then found weaving and knitting, and started adapting it to a new medium, such as painting or sculpture. Our goal with 'Fiberworks' is educate the public on what fiber art can be."

Past "Fiberworks" shows have exhibited embroidery, quilts, handmade books and papers, weaving, basketry and clothing. Although some works are still traditional, most mix fiber techniques with unconventional art forms to produce innovative contemporary art. However, Sullivan said that the fiber arts are still rooted in crafts that date to "when warriors would wear armor made of thick felt and nomadic tents were formed from felt."

SUCCESS
"Fiberworks" was initially exhibited at what is now Science Museum Oklahoma and was open to anyone who submitted, but its popularity and success prompted it to ultimately become a juried exhibit, with a renowned fiber artist coming to the state each year to select the art.

This year's juror is Erica Spitzer Rasmussen, who teaches at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. Her art incorporates clothing-based imagery, often using the fiber to represent human skin.

"Fiberworks" is sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Fiber Artists of Oklahoma and Individual Artists of Oklahoma. 

"?Allison Meier

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