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December 10, 2012

Fiber exhibition at Carnegie showcases artwork from embroidery to quilting and more

NORTH TONAWANDA — Art isn’t just paint on a canvas.

Sometimes it’s a woven blanket with all the colors of the evening. Precise, minute embroidery at the top of a stick pin. A spill of loose fiber waves like something washed up on a distant beach. Or a warm scarf that’s proof against the winter cold.

A fiber exhibition running through Dec. 27 at the Carnegie Art Center, 240 Goundry St., North Tonawanda, features all these things and more. The exhibit includes 38 works from 27 artists, some from as far away as Central New York and Pennsylvania, said Jennifer Kursten, Carnegie program coordinator.

“What we found is that there weren’t a lot of venues for them — so we received a lot of interest,” she said. “We put this together in a month’s time. That’s pretty good for that timeframe, so we’re considering making this biennial.”

The work ranges from felted dyed cheesecloth to mixed-media baskets, and from fiber collages to three-dimensional weavings. “From My Bedroom Window,” a quilted piece by Barbara Zammito of Buffalo, evokes the city’s iconic grain elevators.

There’s also wearable art, such as “Vest of Many Colors” by Suanne Pasquarella, scarfs including “Funky” by Rosemary Olmstead and “Honeydew You See Those Curves?” by Pasquarella ... and aptly titled “Wearable Art” by Lenore Tetkowski.

It’s a visually diverse exhibit as well, ranging from the brilliant colors of pieces like Karen Hodge Russell’s “Flying Frog Comb” (mixed fibers and paint) to the more muted tones of Phyllis Vasbinder’s “November” and “Vacant Lot,” both fabrics dyed with natural dye materials.

Vasbinder, of North Tonawanda, said that she’s worked a lot with wool, growing her own plant material to use as dyes — including such materials as indigo, yellow cosmos, black hollyhock, pokeberry and black walnut. Wanting to try something different, she became interested in the work of the artist India Flint

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