PHOTOS: Social on Marco Island brings a ‘high-fiber’ diet of art

New exhibit focused on textiles

'A Dress Book' by artist Susan Perrine makes a frock out of cards cut from children's books. At their 'Second Tuesday' social, the Marco Island Center for the Arts debuted a show featuring a collection of fiber art from an artists' coalition in Maine. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

"A Dress Book" by artist Susan Perrine makes a frock out of cards cut from children's books. At their "Second Tuesday" social, the Marco Island Center for the Arts debuted a show featuring a collection of fiber art from an artists' coalition in Maine. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— You could have called it a sellout crowd, except that admission, along with the wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres, were free of charge. Marco art lovers, perhaps along with wine and beer lovers, thronged the Marco Island Center for the Arts on Tuesday evening for the opening of a new show.

This show offers a “high-fiber” diet of art. Consisting of fiber art, made from cloth, rope, and related materials, the show that debuted at the Art Center’s regular second-Tuesday-of-the-month Art Social features the work of five artists from the state of Maine. Showing that they are no fools, and know how to read a thermometer, four of the artists sledded down from Maine to attend the opening. Susan Perrine, a resident of Woolwich, Maine, took the honors for living the farthest to the north.

She also had some of the most interesting pieces in the show, among a group that showed just how diverse a body of work the term “fiber art” can encompass. The artists, all of whom are members of the Maine Fiber Artists’ Association, a group of New England artists and artisans who specialize in art from cloth and cordage, range from quilts and wall hangings that dangled from the ceiling to masses of knotted cord, flowers assembled from rolled fabric, and even clothing made from cut-up books.

In an example of turnabout being fair play, a group of Marco artists will journey to Maine this summer, when the temperature and humidity make northern New England seem literally a breath of fresh air, and mount a return exhibit in Maine, said Sandy Wallen. Dividing her time between the two areas, she conceived the idea of the current show, and is working to organize the “exchange of painters.”

Another local touch took place in “La Petite Galerie,” the auxiliary display space the Art Center maintains off the main gallery. There, Allison Ouverson, whose day job is at the Art Center, working at the giftshop and the front desk, practiced her avocation. Working at a spinning wheel, the talented Ouverson, a fiber artist herself, demonstrated how she spins raw wool into completed yarn.

In the Art Center’s continuing quest to mix the media, and push the boundaries of art on Marco Island, executive director has continued to leverage the fiber exhibit. She brought the haiku class she teaches through the gallery before the official opening, using the pieces to provide inspiration for the class’s Japanese poetry. And at the beginning of February, the Calusa Garden Club is going to partner with the Art Center and the Maine artists, rendering their interpretations of the fiber artwork in plants and flowers, for an “Art in Bloom” exhibit. That exhibit will have its opening on February 3, and run from the 3rd to the 5th.

The Art Center’s headquarters is located at 1010 Winterberry Drive. For more information on the Marco Island Center for the Arts, call 239-394-4221.

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