Spaces and Places at Gallery Marlin

One of the reasons I was anxious about doing this show was the challenge of the spaces. Gallery Marlin is a new corporate gallery in the reception area of Marlin Company, an agency that specializes on the food service industry and had invited me to do the first in a series fine art solo shows.

Marlin Company is a corporate sponsor of the Springfield Regional Arts Council who has generously offered to host this series of solo shows with all gallery commissions from sales going directly to the non-profit SRAC. Marlin did not ask me to focus on food, but it wasn’t a problem for me to find a lot of food and kitchen-themed quilts and drawings in my work. I guess home is where the heart is!

I like the urban loft-like feel of Marlin’s offices inside an old ice house that I wrote about in this blog post, located above Brick City — which is the Art & Design HQ for Missouri State University.  At first I didn’t anticipate the challenge that skinny spaces, brick walls, low floating walls, and brown and green interiors would present, but all these parameters eventually pushed me to work in some new directions.

As I was making “Cheese Curls – It’s Hard to Do Just One,” I felt the background was a tad dull, so I studied photos of the Marlin offices and began to incorporate architectural elements of the space. The concrete columns, tiny windows, floating walls, and art furniture added a new dimension and allegorical associations to the work, reminding me that creating a sense of Place is a big part of telling a Story. But more on that in a later post.

Notice the unusual spread of goodies on the ice house table. Marlin was creative about providing a spread of unusual party food for the opening reception last night. Inspired by my quilts there were cheese curls, pretzels, mini toasts and jam!

Putting a show and event together is never the work of one person. Many thanks to Russ, Stephanie, Ellen, Don, Leah, Weber, Judith, and Michael for their encouragement, ideas, and contributions throughout the past weeks.

Kudos also to Ellen for keeping me on task for all tasks from invitations to price lists. Because Ellen kept me on schedule, I actually had some time to play around with some smaller framed pieces in the final week, including finishing up “Teeny Bikini Martini”  (12″ x 24″) that I created for a skinny brick wall.

Although I had my camera in my pocket the entire evening, unfortunately I didn’t remember to take any photos. I wish I had a few photos of all the friends, family, and artists who were there last night. Thank you all who were there in body or spirit!

If you weren’t able to make the reception, the show will be up for a good part of this summer, so stop by during regular business hours to see the gallery. If you’re in the neighborhood, you may also view Watercolor USA Honor Society Small Works Invitational (June 10–August 5) in the Missouri State University Brick City Gallery – 215 W. Mill St., Springfield, MO 65806 on the first floor of the same building.





Fiberart International opening on April 30th

Fiberart International 2010 opens at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY this Friday, and I’m sorry I won’t be there. Well, I will, sort of — by phone.

Last month the Curator of Education for the gallery, Marlene Hamann-Whitmore sent a request to all the participating artists to call into a system that records a short message. During the exhibition, visitors to the gallery will be able to dial numbers on their cell phones and listen to each recording as they stand by the artist’s work.

Since we had to keep our message between 30-60 seconds long, I think it would qualify for an “elevator speech.” Here’s mine (we also had to provide a written transcript for the hearing-impaired):

“Hello, my name is Pam RuBert and my quilt is called “St. Louis – Wish You Were Hair.”

This is part of a series of quilts and drawings in which I morphed the idea of vintage post cards titled “Wish you Were Here” that people used to send from vacations to folks back home into crazy hairstyles that look like famous world landmarks.

While this may seem like a weird idea, I believe the true power of art is the ability to take us to new or unexpected places, to stretch our imagination or to tickle our memories.

As I stitch my quilts for hours at a time, the thread travels the surface, adds structure and texture, and is tied to thoughts, memories and dreams.

I was born in St. Louis and have nostalgic memories of visiting the St. Louis Arch and eating at the only floating McDonald’s in the world. It was on a river boat under the Arch and I made striped french fries and a purple hamburger as tribute to my “golden arches” meal.”

The show will be up at the Memorial Art Gallery from May 1–July 3, 2011, then will move to San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, October 13, 2011 ­- January 15, 2012. It’s sounds like Rochester’s hosting quite a few fiberart related exhibitions through this spring and summer, so check out the MAG’s Fiber in Rochester webpage.

A side note: It’s sad news about all the damage and destruction that occurred over last weekend when a tornado hit St. Louis. But fortunately no one was killed, and all our friends and family are okay.

Art behind the Art

Looks like art, huh?

What a lot of people don’t realize is there’s “art” behind the art. The art of making things work, the art of presenting, the art of bringing things to completion.

These are just a couple of photos from last week’s take-down of the Vital Threads show at Stephens College in the Davis Art Gallery. Annie Helmericks-Louder’s  husband John Louder is removing Annie’s butterfly from the wall. He’s especially motivated because he’s going to install his landscape paintings for the next upcoming show.

The wood piece is actually the hanging hardware for Annie’s huge art quilt, but you’d never have seen this elegant structure during the exhibition. It’s completely hidden behind Annie’s big butterfly that is composed of all sorts of fabrics, threads, and other embellishments. You can get a better sense of the texture of Annie’s work if you go to her website to see the nice close up photos she has on her welcome page.

One of the nice things about exhibiting with other artists, you get a chance to see how they pack, transport, and install their work. I’ve learned so much from watching other artists – both at shows I’ve been involved with and with my husband’s sculpture and gallery work. Plus, it’s just darn fun.

Annie’s system is pretty amazing. The wooden frame has small hooks screwed into it, and the hooks all match hand-crocheted rings sewn onto the back of the quilt. At first I thought she had crocheted thread around rings, but she said no, they are completely made of the yarn or thread so they are more flexible than metal would be.

For more photos of the exhibition, go to the Vital Threads photo gallery on my website. I’ve finally gotten my website converted to WordPress, something I’ve been trying to do for what seems like a year. I don’t have all my quilts there yet, but some of the more recent work.

Now after going to see Annie’s website, it makes me think mine needs a lot more work. Thanks for the inspiration Annie!

Vital Threads exhibition at Stephens College

Over the weekend, Russ and I made a quick jaunt up to Columbia, MO to help install a two-person show at the Davis Gallery at Stephens College. The show called Vital Threads features my work and the work of Annie Helmericks-Louder, another Missouri artist who does art quilts, silk paintings, and fabulous plein aire pastels. Check out her website and roadtrip blog.

It was fun to meet Annie for the first time, and her husband who is also a painter and artist. Dan Scott the gallery director also brought his family, so between all of us, it was pretty quick work to get everything looking good for the reception coming up this Friday.

The Davis Gallery is a sort of retro 60’s space with floating stairs, waffle ceiling, cool chairs and a charming sculpture patio just outside.

The reception will be this Friday, August 27 from 4-6 p.m., so if you’re in the area, please stop by!

Vital Threads
August 27-October 14, 2010
opening reception: Friday, August 27, 4-6 p.m.
Stephens College – Davis Art Gallery
Corner of Walnut & Ripley
Columbia, MO 65215

Vital Threads exhibition at Stephens College

International TECHstyle Art Biennial (ITAB)

I’m pleased that two of my quilts will be shown soon at the International TECHstyle Art Biennial (ITAB) at the San Jose Quilts & Textiles Museum. Skating on Thin Ice will be there, and also my newest work, Tokyo – Wish You Were Hair.

layered cotton fabrics stitched with thread, 65"x50" by Pam RuBert

ITAB is a juried exhibition of work by artists exploring the intersection of fiber art with new information and communication technologies, to be held in conjunction with San Jose’s biennial ZERO1 Festival, the 2010 01 SJ Biennial, which runs from September 16-19, 2010. The exhibition includes 41 works by 28 artists from six countries—including Canada, China, Germany, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For more information and some images from the upcoming show, check out the museum website article.

San Jose Quilts & Textiles Museum, San Jose, CA
August 17 – October 31, 2010
Opening reception is Sunday, August 22, 2-4pm

Fiberart International 2010

Last weekend Fiberart International 2010 opened in Pittsburgh at two venues – the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Society for Contemporary Craft. The show will be on exhibit April 17 – August 22, 2010, then travel to the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design.

Continue reading Fiberart International 2010

Stitch Me a Story

Danny_MansmithClever name for a show, huh? Wish I’d thought of it.

I didn’t — Mary O’Shaughnessy did. You may remember Mary, I mentioned her and Charlie (both artists) in a blog post a couple of years ago when we visited their gallery/studio/workspace/sculpture garden in Chicago.

Mary curated “Stitch Me a Story” for the Noyes Cultural Center and asked me to send her some photos of my quilts. She chose five to exhibit, but honestly, I was more excited about Danny Mansmith‘s contributions to the show than my own.

He’s having waaaay too much fun with clothes pins, if you ask me. And a very prolific artist — I just felt that if I saw his work in person, the energy that he puts into his work would re-invigorate mine.


I first read about Danny when he was written up in Fiberarts Magazine a few years ago. Back then I tracked him down on the web to find a wealth of information and photos of his posted on Flickr. That may when I decided to sign up for a Flickr account — possible, since his is the first account that I marked as a contact so I could get Flickr updates on his new postings.


Here’s my quilts I shipped up for the exhibit. It looks like Danny’s installation is just next to mine. I had hoped to get up to Chicago in time to see the show and Danny’s work in person, but since it’s over a nine-hour drive and today is the last day of the show, doesn’t look like we’ll make it…

Thanks to Charlie van Gilder for the photos. Here’s Charlie’s website which shows his art and also Mary’s Art Lamps. Charlie gave me a copy of these photos last weekend when he and Mary were driving through Missouri on their way home after Mary’s big solo show at the Jane Sauer Gallery in Santa Fe called “Daughters of Memory.”

Modern Materials reviews and other news

mmslideshow.jpg“Conceptual craft” is explained by Jill Rumoshosky Werner, curator of the Modern Materials exhibition at the Artspace at Untitled gallery in the audio interview that accompanies this slideshow that appeared yesterday on the Oklahoma City newspaper and website. The site also features a video of the exhibition and gallery space and this article with comments from the Artspace executive director Jon Burris.

oknews_aliensmacartney.jpgThe show will be in the Artspace at Untitled gallery until August 29. The gallery is currently checking into the possibility of traveling the show, so hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to see it in another city.

Art Quilts Lowell 2009 opened at the Brush Art Gallery in Lowell, MA last week as part of the big Lowell Quilt Festival. Maxine sent me word that my quilt Traffic Jam that is part of the exhibit was mentioned in this article in The Sun, and also that the festival and shows had great attendance.That exhibit will be up until September 19, 2009.

Both of these show articles were sub-lined somewhere with “Not your Grandmother’s Patchwork.” I can’t tell you how many articles that I’ve seen across the country with that headline or something similar. It used to bother me, but I’ve come to realize that it’s original in each situation, because the writer or reviewer in that region is trying to dispel a common misconception that a quilt art show will look like a bunch of quilts. And if their headlines get more new attendance at these exhibits and venues, more power to them!