Back from the Crow Barn

I just returned from three weeks at the Nancy Crow Barn in Ohio. I was in Sets and Variables I, II and III with Nancy Crow for the first two weeks, and New Color Mixing for Dyers with Carol Soderlund for my last week.

  Whimsical sculptures are scattered around the walkways of the Crow Barn.
Whimsical sculptures are scattered around the walkways of the Crow Barn.

What a whirlwind! As always, I learned more than I could take in. Art was everywhere – in our surroundings at the barn itself, in magnificent shows such as “Material Pulses: 8 Viewpoints” at the Riffe Gallery in downtown Columbus and “Mastery: Sustaining Momentum” at the Dairy Barn in Athens.

Art filled each day as we designed, cut, pieced and critiqued our work. Our fabric was our paint and our rotary cutters were our brushes. We worked with figure/ground, high contrast, medium contrast, low contrast. Darks. Mediums. Lights. Neutrals. Glowing. Flat. 

The design exercises focusing on color and value, glowing and flat are fascinating! It’s exciting to add a new color and/or value and watch it change before your eyes and do something unexpected. As Nancy says, just when she thinks she’s understanding a color/value interaction, “BAM! It knocks you sideways in a way you never saw coming!”

It was an honor and a highlight of the trip when Nancy invited us – her students – to attend the opening of the show she was curating at The Dairy Barn on Friday evening, May 28. Entitled “Mastery: Sustaining Momentum,” it features stunning work from 12 master artists who have studied with her over the years. Artists such as Judy Kirpich, Marina Kamenskaya, Margaret Wolf, Gerri Spilka and Coleen Kole were there, and we soaked up the atmosphere. 

Helen McBride Richter in front of her quilt, “Thirty Four?” at the Dairy Barn show, “Mastery: Sustaining Momentum.”

What a magnificent show! Nancy’s driving goal is gaining the recognition from the fine art world that large-scale, machine pieced art quilts / fiber art are indeed FINE ART and should take their place in MOMA and other art museums and galleries around the world. That goal is beginning to take hold with the magnificent work being exhibited.

Nancy Crow’s newest series, entitled “Riff” was inspired by train tracks from her childhood.  – At the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio through November 2016.

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