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Oklahoma fiber artists join for an exhibit that toys with traditional techniques and tests limits of all types of textiles



Fiberworks 2010
Opening 6-9 p.m. Saturday
On display through July 17
Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery
706 W. Sheridan

Janice Filler now knows: Ask and you shall receive.

Filler, who had been working with fiber art "? the use of textiles or fabrics to make artwork "? for only a few years, voiced her frustrations to her quilting guild about not being able to enter her newest piece in a contest.

That's when some of the other women in the guild told Filler about Fiberworks, an annual exhibit in Oklahoma City that provides Oklahoma artists the opportunity showcase their textile works.

The event is only open to current Oklahoma residents, and the work the artist submits must have been created in the past two years. Each year, Fiberworks organizers brings in a guest juror to judge the works and name award-winners. Sue Moss Sullivan, who is one of the original members of Fiber Artists of Oklahoma and a chair for Fiberworks, said the juror is usually an accomplished outside artist that isn't familiar with any of the artwork they are seeing, to ensure an unbiased assessment.

The 2010 juror is Ilze Aviks, a nationally exhibited Durango, Colo., artist who has a master's in fine arts from Colorado State University and has taught at several schools in the United States, Australia and Canada, including the Kansas City Art Institute, the Portland School of Art and Fort Lewis College.

"Over the years, we have had so many people that have grow in what they do, and we have really strong entries," she said. "We have a juror that we pick each year to invite to come to town. It's always an outsider from somewhere away from Oklahoma, so they are less prejudiced about what they put in and the interest is in design technique primarily."

Filler, a retired pediatrician who worked at Integris Baptist Medical Center, found out about Fiberworks and decided to enter some pieces just to get the feel for what contests were like.

"My goal when entering Fiberworks was to have a piece of my work be accepted into a juried show," she said. "This is the first show I had entered, and I was just thrilled to death to know that I had been accepted. Then to find out I won the jurors choice award, I was knocked out of my socks."

Sullivan said fiber art is interesting because it combines elements of ancient craftsmanship with new artistic ideas, materials and techniques.

"It used to be called 'women's work,' with the quilts and whatnot, especially in Oklahoma culture," Sullivan said. "So many people now take it out of the function side and into the art side."

She said those selected are the best of the best in the fiber art medium.

"Entries get stronger and better every year," Sullivan said. "This is the only place where they can show and they aren't competing against painting or sculptures or anything like that; it's just the fiber art."

Besides winning the award for her piece "Nod to Gustav Klimt," Filler said she enjoyed the educational side to Fiberworks.

"The judge goes around each piece and talks about what they like or dislike or what they would change about it," she said. "It's very educational for those just learning or even for experienced artists just to have a good critique on your work." "?Adam Kemp


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