Congratulations: The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Short List!

Congratulations to Polly Adams Sutton and Ferne Jacobs who have been sort listed for the 2024 Loewe Craft Prize!

Polly Sutton basket and Ferne Jacobs Fiber Sculpture
14ps Berry, Polly Sutton, cedar bark, ash, wire, yellow cedar outer bark, 13″ x 12″ x 12″, 2022
7fj Shadow Figure, Ferne Jacobs, coiled and twined linen thread, 61″ x 11″ x 3″, 1980s. Photos by Tom Grotta

Loewe was founded in 1846 as a collective of artisans dedicated to leather making. Some of their leather artisans have been with Loewe for as many as 50 years. The Loewe School of Leather Craft in Madrid ensures these time-honored skills are passed on to new generations.

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize was launched 70 years later in 2016 to illuminate excellence, innovation, and artistic vision in contemporary craftsmanship. Finalists represent makers of all ages, cultures and disciplines, selected by experts reviewing submissions from over 100 countries. “Craft is the essence of Loewe,” the firm quotes its creative director, Jonathan Anderson. “It is where our modernity lies, and it will always be relevant.” 

The Loewe Prize acknowledges international artisans over 18, of any gender, who demonstrate an exceptional ability to create objects of superior aesthetic value. All entries should: 1) fall within an area of applied arts, such as ceramics, bookbinding, enamelwork, jewellery, lacquer, metal, furniture, leather, textiles, glass, paper, wood, etc; 2) be an original work, handmade or partly handmade; 3) have been created in the last five years; 4) be one-of a-kind; 5) have won no prizes previously; and 6) demonstrate artistic intent. A jury composed of 13 leading figures from the world of design, architecture, journalism, criticism and museum curatorship — including a curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Director of the Design Museum in London — will select the winner of the 2024 Craft Prize from the short list of 30 artists. The prize awarded to the winner is 50,000 Euros in cash. The announcement will be made in the Spring of 2024.

works by Mercedes Vicente, Yeonsoon Chang, Jiro Yonezawa and Simone Pheulpin
clockwise: works by Mercedes Vicente, Yeonsoon Chang, Jiro Yonezawa and Simone Pheulpin. Photos by Tom Grotta

The Loewe Prize short list in other years has recognized many interesting artists including Joe Hogan of Ireland and Tanya Aguiñiga of the US.  Besides Sutton and Jacobs, other artists that browngrotta arts works with have been recognized through these competitions.  Mercedes Vicente of Spain and Yeonsoon Chang of Korea have both appeared on the short list in previous years. Simone Pheulpin of France was short listed and received a Special Mention award. Her work was displayed in the Design Museum in the UK. And Jiro Yonezawa of Japan has been involved in a Loewe creative initiative in which he created works of leather, adapting some of the techniques he uses to create bamboo sculptures.

Good Luck to Polly and Ferne!

Save the Date: browngrotta arts Spring Art in the Barn

We’ve spent the first weeks of 2024 summing up 2023 and looking at this year’s trends in art and design. Now we’ve got a more concrete prediction — our Spring Art in the Barn exhibition will run from Saturday, May 4 through Sunday, May 12, 2024. Discourse: art across generations and continents will explore the diversity in art textiles and fiber sculpture.

Blair Tate, Warren Seelig header
Details of tapestries by Blair Tate made in 2022 and Warren Seelig made more than 40 years earlier in 1976. Photo by Tom Grotta.

In Discourse, browngrotta arts will assemble a large and eclectic group of artworks that celebrate artists from different countries, who work with varied materials, and represent distinct artistic approaches. More than 50 artists from 20 countries will be featured.Included will be works from the art form’s origins 60 years ago, current mixed media works and sculpture, and pieces created in the decades between — enabling an intriguing look at intergenerational differences, material breakthroughs, and historical significance in fiber art.

Details: John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Norie Hatekayama
Details: John McQueen, Norma Minkowitz, Norie Hatekayama. Photo by Tom Grotta.

structural explorations
Despite their distinctiveness, the artists in Discourse share a common trait. Each possesses “material intelligence,” what author Glenn Adamson describes as “a deep understanding of the material world around us, an ability to read that material environment, and the know-how required to give it new form.” The works in Discourse reflect this mastery. Artists like John McQueen and Norma Minkowitz of the US and Norie Hatekayama and Naoko Serino of Japan engineer imaginative structures of unexpected materials — plaited paper tape, molded jute, crocheted linen, and pieced twigs and branches. 

Details: Gudrun Pagter, Warren Seelig, Blair Tate
Details: Gudrun Pagter, Warren Seelig, Blair Tate. Photos by Tom Grotta

fiber art … an evolution
Discourse also offers viewers a chance to make intergenerational and cross-continental comparisons. Included will be starkly graphic weavings by Warren Seelig (US) made in the 70s and 80s, and ones by Gudrun Pagter (DK), and Blair Tate (US) made 40+ years later. We have often observed a different sensibility among artists from Eastern Europe and those in Western Europe, Asia, and the US. Artists in Eastern Europe have a history, which began after World War II, of using items at hand to create works – sisal, rope, hemp, goat hair. A fierce energy is seen in these works; they are rugged and raw. By contrast, for artists who worked elsewhere in more traditional tapestry materials like wool, silk, linen – quietly refined works were often the result. Discourse will spotlight such regional contrasts. 

Details: Marian Bijlenga, Shoko Fukuda, Marianne Kemp
Details: Marian Bijlenga, Shoko Fukuda, Marianne Kemp. Photo by Tom Grotta.

material matters
Viewers to Discourse will also see a wide range of to material and technique approaches. Several artists make vastly different uses of paper — scrolling of encyclopedia pages by Wendy Wahl (US), knotted paper objects by Shoko Fukuda (JP), and sculptural works of rice paper by Pat Campbell (US). Three other artists, Adela Akers (US), Marianne Kemp (NL), and Marian Bijlenga (NL), use horsehair in vastly different ways. 

Details: Laura Foster Nicholson, Irina Kolesnikova, Anneke Klein
Details: Laura Foster Nicholson, Irina Kolesnikova, Anneke Klein. Photos by Tom Grotta.

the medium is the message
Some of the artists in Discourse, including Laura Foster Nicholson (US) Gyöngy Laky (US), and Irina Kolesnikova (RU/DE), use the medium of fiber art to make explicit statements about the modern world — about personal anxiety, communication, and humans’ impact on the environment. “I like to tease the brain – to promote or even provoke or cajole, a visual dialogue with the viewer,” says Gyöngy Laky (US). Her work, Anticipation, which spells out the word “Who?“ in applewood branches, presents a question. “Given the challenges, concerns, conflicts and other dangers we face today,” Laky says, “this question, underlies the search for a way forward to a better day.” Anneke Klein (NL) is interested in communication: In Dialogue — Her work is made up of two layers that hang, one in front of the other. When you change your position in front of Dialogue, the interaction between the two layers changes, as it does between two speakers.

Detail: Lia Cook
Detail: Lia Cook. Photo by Tom Grotta.

experiments in technique
Contemporary fiber art is by definition experimental. It arose when a group of artists used tapestry techniques to create abstract sculptures that hung off the wall. A work of parallel optical lines from studies Lia Cook (US) did for her master’s thesis in the 1970s will be included along with works reflecting Neha Puri Dhir’s (IN) currrent experiments dying silk and baskets by Esmé Hofman (NL) of black willow and elm that also incorporate color.

Detail: Aby Mackie
Detail: Aby Mackie. Photo by Tom Grotta.

fiber art has emotional appeal
Fiber art — art textiles, tapestries, and three-dimensional sculpture — engages us on a deeply personal level. Our first memories are of cloth, fuzzy blankets, soft towels and they remain strong ones. Scientists have shown that different parts of the brain light up when we look at a woven image and a photographic image of the same item. Aby Mackie (SP) sources and recycles used fabrics from flea markets, fabrics laden with memory. She is captivated by these silent witnesses to a life lived; a worn bed sheet, a stained tablecloth, a moth-eaten gown. Such artifacts bear the marks and physicality of human nature, possessing a poetic power. She gilds this repurposed material in works like We Can All Be Saved, leaving viewers to consider what creates value.

We invite you to draw comparisons and gain new perspectives of your own. See you in May!

Exhibition Details:
Discourse: art across generations and continents
May 4 – May 12, 2024
browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897

Gallery Dates/Hours:
Saturday, May 4th: 11am to 6pm [Opening & Artist Reception]
Sunday, May 5th: 11am to 6pm (40 visitors/ hour)
Monday, May 6th through Saturday, May 11th: 10am to 5pm (40 visitors/ hour)
Sunday, May 12th: 11am to 6pm [Final Day] (40 visitors/ hour)
Schedule your visit at POSH

Safety protocols: 
POSH reservations strongly encouraged • No narrow heels please 

A full-color catalog, browngrotta arts’ 59th, Discourse: art across generations and continents, will be published by the gallery in conjunction with the exhibition.

Art and Design Trends: 2024

Still firmly in the start of the year, New Year’s resolutions not abandoned yet, it’s an ideal time to explore the design trends that will define the aesthetic landscape of 2024. From color palettes to furniture styles, this year’s design pundits predict an array of options for transforming your living spaces into stylish and on-trend havens. Art can be an essential part of that transformation. Here are some of the 2024 insights we’ve compiled:

Color: the eternal appeal of blue
“One trend in particular is emerging as clear as the sky is blue,” says The Spruce, an interior design blog(“The 2024 Colors of the Year Point to One Trend You Need to Know,” Megan McCarty, November 7, 2023). Each fall, paint brands unveil their colors of the year, and for 2024, many of them declared shades of blue as the color to consider, including Skipping Stones by Dunn-Edwards, Blue Nova 825 by Benjamin Moore, Renew Blue by Valspar, Thermal by C@ Paints, Bay Blue by Minwax, and Bluebird by Krylon. Blue, as any of you who followed our 2018 exhibition Blue/Green: color, code, context know is elemental…sky and sea, infinite in hue, tone, intensity and variation…indigo, azure, sapphire, ultramarine. As metaphor, it connotes integrity, tranquilty.  It’s no wonder that it never really falls out of favor. The designers interviewed by The Spruce gave a number of reasons for including the color in one’s space. It’s calming and relaxing, subtle and subdued, and has a connection to nature. The Spruce quotes Chelse Thowe, the lead designer of Forge & Bow, sees a common thread in the paint brands’ colors of the year:  each is reminiscent of clear skies and calm waters. “Blue is trending because it connects us with nature and feels rejuvenating,” Thowe says. “It brings a sense of stillness and creates a sanctuary from our busy lives.” 

Micheline Beauchemin tapestry
1mb Totem aux Millefleurs Bleues, Micheline Beauchemin, wool, 84″ x 42″, 1980

Many artists who work with browngrotta arts use indigo and other shades of blue to evince natural themes.  In Totem aux Millefleurs BleuesMicheline Beauchemin chose blue, turquoise and green to create a calm atmosphere of forest and leaves. “…[T]he color, though dark,” she said, “will be brilliant and beautiful.” Still others, choose it for its metaphorical power.

Rachel Max basket
8rm Continuum, Rachel Max, dyed cane, plaited and twined, 15.5″x 17″ x 17″, 2018

Rachel Max’s work, Continuum, explores the artist’s ambivalence about blue. “It is cold yet often warm and comforting. It is a color of depth and distance, of darkness and light and dawn and dusk.” Blue is linked closely to the sea and sky, and Max says, like our lives, she says, they seem infinite yet each has a beginning and an end. Continuum is like a Mobius strip, illustrating the contrasts and opposites, the finite and infinite.

Biophilic Design/Return to Nature
Interior designers predict that homeowners will seek to create calming and harmonious environments in the coming year. Biophilic design, with its emphasis on incorporating natural elements into interiors, will continue to flourish, bringing the outdoors inside through the use of plants, natural materials, and organic textures, says ZDS, (“Exploring the biggest interior design trends 2024“). This trend is one also predicted to have a parallel in the art world. Artsy interviewed 15 curators on defining art themes for 2024 (“15 Leading Curators Predict the Defining Art Trends of 2024,” Artsy, Maxwell Rabb, January 12, 2024), including Amy Smith-Stewart, Chief Curator, at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Materials and methods carry meaning, Smith-Stewart told Artsy, “I predict we will see more artists incorporating organic materials or materials collected, grown, and harvested from the natural world into their work,” she said. Artists will seek to comment and address legacies of colonization, she predicts, as well as on issues of environmental justice and land use.

James Bassler weaving
16jb Things Past, James Bassler, single ply agave, 38.5” x 38.5” x 3.5”, 2021

At browngrotta, James Bassler’s use of agave in Things Past is part of a project to use the plant waste created by the making of tequila. Bassler’s friend, the artist Trine Ellitsgaard, organized an exhibition of works made from agave. She has worked with artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico to create fibers and spun thread from agave waste to spin into rugs and bags and art. 

Ane Henriksen tapestry
30ah Reserve, Ane Henriksen, linen, silk, acrylic painted rubber matting, oak frame, 93.75” x 127.625” x 2.5”, 201

In Reserve, Ane Henriksen used material covered with oil spots, found washed up on the west coast of Denmark. Fishermen use the material on the tables in the galley, so the plates don’t slide off when on the high seas. The work highlights ecological peril. “Nature is threatened,” Henriksen says. “I hope this is expressed in my image, which at first glance can be seen as a peaceful, recognizable view of nature, but when you move closer and see the material, it might make you uneasy, and stir thoughts of how human activity is a threat against nature.” John McQueen has created provocative sculptures from twigs, branches and bark for many years. More recently, he has begun to add recycled plastics to highlight humans’ tenuous connection to nature. He illustrates this conflicted relationship in Arm & Hammer with a man stepping precariously on a snake made from recycled plastic bottles of detergent.

John McQueen sculpture
79jm Arm & Hammer, John McQueen, twigs, twine, plastic from, Arm & Hammer detergient bottles, 56” x 31” x 30”, 2006

Celebrating the 70s and Icons
Each year, 1stDibs, the e-commerce interior design and fine art marketplace, aims to quantify subtle shifts in designers’ taste with its Designer Survey (“The 1stDibs Guide to 2024 Interior Design Trends,” Introspective, Cara Greenberg, December 19, 2023). This year’s survey drew responses from more than 600 industry professionals. The results report what excites designers at this point in time, “what they’ve had quite enough of and what they anticipate sourcing to conjure sublime living spaces in the months to come.” 1st Dibs reports a fresh enthusiasm for the 1970s, which 27 percent of designers in the US and 29 percent in the UK cited as the era they’ll draw upon for inspiration in 2024. “[E]expect to see an updated version of 1970: “a curated, earth-toned Laurel Canyon look, if you will — organic, relaxed, and comforting.” The survey also found that iconic design has lasting power. “Iconic designs are revered for a reason. Their forms are so pure, their function so unimpeachable that their lasting popularity should come as no surprise.”

Glen Kaufman tapestry
188gk Abbot’s Mantle, Glen Kaufman, wool, 74″ x 36″ x 1.5″, 1971

We find the same purity in works from the 1970s by the icons of art textiles. Abbot’s Mantle made in 1971 by Glen Kaufman, reflects the experience in rug making and design that he gained at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, during a Fulbright in Scandinavia, and while working at Dorothy Liebes’ New York Design Studio. 

Katherine Westphal quilt
47w The puzzle of Floating World #2, Katherine Westphal, transfer print and quilting on cotton, 85″ x 68″, 1976

Puzzle of the Floating World (1976)by Katherine Westphal, who authored The Surface Designer’s Art: Contemporary, Fabric, Printers, Painters and Dyers (Lark Books,1993, Asheville, NC) contemporizes quilting. 

Sherri Smith weaving
1ss/r Linde Star, Sherri Smith, plaiting, discharge; cotton webbing, 36″ x 33.75″, 1976

Sherri Smith’s Linde Star is an imaginative stitched-and-plaited work, that was included in the seminal 1970s book, Beyond Weaving: the art fabric. Ritzi Jacobi, who was also featured in Beyond Weaving, 

Ritzi and Peter Jacobi goat hair tapestry
10rj Exotica Series, Ritzi and Peter Jacobi, cotton, goat hair and sisal, 114″ x 60″ x 6″, 1975

was known her heavily textured works, like Exotica Series  made with Peter Jacobi in 1975, in which the couple used unusual materials such as sisal, coconut fibers, and goat hair. 

Ed Rossbach Peruvian tapestry
78r Peruvian Tapestry, Ed Rossbach, printed weft, 20″ x 21″, 1972

 In Peruvian Tapestry (1972)Ed Rossbach, an influential artist, author, and teacher, continued his experiments re-envisioning traditional techniques. Peter Collingwood, knighted by the Queen of England, developed a practice that he called shaft switching to create complex and elegant works.

Peter Collingwood textile
5pco Microgauze 84, Peter Collingwood, warp: Black and natural linen; Weft: natural linen, 72″ x 8.375″ x .125″, 1970

The design and art trends of 2024 suggest ways to create spaces that are not only visually appealing but also deeply reflective of your personality and lifestyle. We are happy to help you source works from browngrotta arts to enable that process.

Art Assembled – New This Week in January

At browngrotta arts, we’re kicking off the year with the same enthusiasm that propels us forward year after year. Throughout January, we’ve had the privilege of shining a spotlight on some extraordinary artists and their creations. The talents of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Warren Seeling, Nancy Moore Bess, Federica Luzzi, and Ethel Stein have graced our ‘New This Week’ series.

But, that’s just the beginning of the excitement. We’ve also been hard at work prepping for our next upcoming exhibition.. We will be sharing the details soon, so be sure to keep following along so you don’t miss out!

Until then, we invite you to recap on our past month of ‘New This Week’ features below.

 Ethel Stein
54es Rust Abstract, Ethel Stein, mercerized cotton lampas, 36” x 35.25” x 1”, 2005. Photo by Tom Grotta.

To start off our series for the month, we began by highlighting the late, Ethel Stein. With a career spanning decades, Stein left an indelible mark on the world of weaving and textile art. Her intricate and masterful creations were not only celebrated across the country but also earned her a solo exhibition at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago in 2014.

What makes Stein’s artistic journey truly exceptional is her mastery of the drawloom—a skill that few contemporary weavers possess. This expertise allowed her to craft intricate textiles that were both technically advanced and visually captivating.

Her influence resonated across the globe, as her works found a place in exhibitions not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and beyond.

Federica Luzzi
13fl White Shell, Federica Luzzi, knotting technique, cotton cord, 15″ x 15″x 7.25″, 2018. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Up next in January, we turned our focus to the talented Federica Luzzi. Luzzi’s vertical loom technique allows her to transform fibers from their traditional two-dimensional frame into captivating three-dimensional creations.

What truly sets Luzzi apart is her presentation. She curates her works in dimensional installations, where they appear as fragments of a galaxy, blending the macrocosm and microcosm seamlessly. Her artistry is akin to a magnetic aggregation of fragile bodies, meticulously arranged like constellations or an enigmatic form of writing.

At the core of Luzzi’s exploration lies a deep connection with nature. Her work delves into the intricate beauty of leaves, barks, seeds, and plant pods. Through her art, she unveils the hidden wonders of these organic elements, inviting viewers to ponder the intricate patterns of the natural world.

Nancy Moore Bess
71nmb Jakago I, Nancy Moore Bess, dyed, kiln-dried Japanese bamboo, waxed linen and cotton, 7.5″ x 4″ x 4″, 2007. Photo Tom Grotta.

Up next in our series, we highlighted the work of artist, Nancy Moore Bess. Based in California, Bess is an artist who views tradition as a reference point rather than a boundary. Her journey has revolved around the idea of mystery and containment within the realm of basketry, and she brings a unique twist to her creations using lids and closures inspired by her time living in Japan.

When creating, Bess seamlessly weaves together the practicality of traditional basketry with an enigmatic, and almost secretive allure. Her works beckon viewers to imagine the hidden treasures they might hold.

We are continuously impressed by the work Bess creates, and that’s exactly why we wanted to shine a light on her, so our audiences can see it too!

 Warren Seeling
7was.1 Shadowfield/ Colored Light/ Single by Warren Seeling, silver brazed stainless steel/ mixed colored plexiglass, 36” x 21” x 8”, 2017. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Nearing the end of the month, we brought you all art from the one and only, Warren Seeling. Seelig’s impact on the art world is significant, with his work featured in over 30 major museum exhibitions worldwide. His relentless exploration of possibilities within textile and fiber art continues to inspire and challenge conventional ideas of texture, weight, and form.

Warren Seelig’s journey as an artist has been marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation. Back in the late ’70s, he ventured into creating structural, fan-like works, using mylar frames and introducing a unique double-weave technique that pushed the boundaries of traditional textile art. Over time, Seelig’s focus evolved, leading him to craft suspended spoke-and-axle pieces and wall-mounted shadow fields.

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette
561mv.1 Repos + Paix, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, brushed wool, aluminum, 48″ x 54″, 1988.
Photo by Tom Grotta.

To close out our series for the month, we brought you art from the late artist, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. With a career spanning four decades, she left an indelible mark on the world of tapestries and sculptures, captivating collectors and commissions across the globe.

Rousseau-Vermette’s artistic journey took her from the Quebec School of Fine Arts to working alongside Dorothy Liebes in California. She later participated in five International Tapestry Biennials in Lausanne, using these opportunities to connect with artists worldwide. In the 1980s, she made significant contributions as part of the Art and Architecture program, ultimately heading the Fibers Department at the Banff Center for the Fine Arts.

It’s no wonder why her achievements are so widely recognized! She is truly one of the best.

We hope you enjoyed our January series! Stay tuned for more ‘New This Week’ features in the months ahead.

Artists and bga Get Good Press

2023 was a good press year for artists we work with and for browngrotta arts. 2024 is off to a good start, too! Below are some highlights.

Neha Puri Dhir featured  in Elle Decor

The first week of January, Elle Decor covered the Young Collectors Global Weekend and featured the work of Neha Puri Dhir, observing that it “encapsulates a sophisticated sensibility”

selvedge feature James Bassler and Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila

The next week, the selvedge blog reported on the Threaded Visions: Contemporary Weavings from the Collection exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois. The blog featured images of James Bassler’s A Weaving and White Dwarf by Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila.

Masakazu Kobayashi’s retrospective in Kyoto, Japan, Masakazu Kobayahsi and his Contemporaries — Beyond Fiber Art (through March 10, 2024) was featured in the ETN online newsletter  this month.

Fern Jacobs feature article basketry+

In the Fall 2023/Winter 2024 issue of basketry+the cover story Pushing Boundaries,” by Barbara Delaney, pp. 2-7, featured on Ferne Jacobs. “Jacobs doesn’t want her work to be ‘pretty,'” Delaney wrote. “She hopes it’s interesting to others, take it has life and breath, and she will take risks to make that happen. She doesn’t want to be predictable either,…Her art shows that she definitely is not.”

Glen Kaufman article in Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot Winter 2023 issue of Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot featured an article by Rhonda Brown, Glen Kaufman: An Art Odyssey, pp. 42-47.

ETN Conference

In March 2023, Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila, lectured at “Codes: Stories in Textiles.” the European Textile Network conference in Lodz, Poland. In February, their work, Oceanica, was featured in the ETN online newsletter announcing the conference.

The Summer 2023 issue of NBO’s basketry+ featured Jeannet Leenderste in an artist profile, “Capturing Place in a Basket,” by Noelle Foye. The author, wrote about Leenderste’s experiments in making baskets with seaweed. “Leenderste loves to experiment and see where an idea might take her. Not knowing how to construct a basket simply meant an opportunity to play and explore in the studio.”

Simone Pheulpin on the cover of  Artemorbida

ArteMorbida profiled Simone Pheulpin in a cover article in July 2023 by Maria Rosaria Roseo.

ETN covers Włodzimierz Cygan solo exhibition

The ETN online newsletter reviewed Włodzimierz Cygan’s solo exhibition in Latvia, “At own pace,” in June. The article reported that Cygan loves experimentation with fiber optics within textile art trying to link the permanence of textile materials and a continuous change of the light.

artemorbida acclaim article

browngrotta arts’ Acclaim! exhibition garnered press coverage including an article in Arte Morbida’s April issue by Rhonda Brown, “In and Out of Favor Fiber Art Persisted: The Rewards of Recognition,” (pp. 45-51) and one in selvedge magazine’s online blog in April 2023.

olga-de-amaral in selvage

browngrotta arts Year in Review — 2023

We like to take a look back each January and to make plans for the year to come. Here’s a roundup for 2023.

Acclaim exhibition
Acclaim! exhibition at browngrotta arts

4 at browngrotta arts
Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists — more than 300 people attended live Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions, three exhibitions in one: Glen Kaufman: Retrospective 1960-2010Dorothy Gill Barnes: a way with wood; An Abundance of Objects — more than 200 people attended live

Wordplay exhibition
WordPlay exhibition at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT. Photo by Tom Grotta

1 partnered exhibition elsewhere
WordPlay: Messages in Branches & Bark
Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT, co-curators, Debra Fram, Nancy Heller and browngrotta arts — 1597 people attended the exhibit.

8 exhibitions to which browngrotta arts loaned works
Norma Minkowitz: Body to Soul
Fairfield University Art Gallery | Bellarmine Hall Fairfield, CT

Norma Minkowitz installation
Norma Minkowitz installation. Photo by Tom Grotta

Paper Town (work by Wendy Wahl) Fitchburg Art Museum | 185 Elm Street Fitchburg, MA 01420

Making a Mark: The Art of Self Expression, (work by Adela Akers, Helena Hernmarck, Tamiko Kawata, Sue Lawty, Aby Mackie, Norma Minkowitz, and Ulla-Maija Vikman) Women’s Art Center, East Hampton, NY

Indigo (work by Polly Barton, James Bassler, Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila, Chiyoko Tanaka, Yeonsoon Chang, Hiroyuki Shindo) Denver Botanical Garden, CO

Beyond Glass (work by Lawrence LaBianca) Wayne Art Center, PA

Lawrence LaBianca installation, Wayne Art Center, PA. Photo by Tom Grotta

Couples (work by James Bassler) Craft in America Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Ferne Jacobs: A Perfect World (work by Ferne Jacobs) Claremont Lewis Museum of Art, CA

Salon Art + Design with the Juan Garrido Gallery of Madrid, Spain (works by Mia Olsson, Ulla-Maija Vikman, Scott Rothstein, Carolina Yrarrázaval) Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY

Organization Acquisitions

White Dwarf tapestry, Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila and Sound by Christine Joy. Photos by Tom Grotta

Art Institute of Chicago, IL: White Dwarf, Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila
Yale University Gallery, New Haven, CT: Sound, Christine Joy
Cincinnati Museum, OH: Haystack River Teeth Basket, Dorothy Gill Barnes
Art in Embassies, Guadalajara: Cloud Formation, Christine Joy
Corporate acquisitions: Lucent: Jennfier Falck Linssen; Santa Cruz: Gerhardt Knoedel


4 catalogs
Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists
Glen Kaufman: Retrospective 1960-2010
Dorothy Gill Barnes: a way with wood
An Abundance of Objects

4 articles
“In and Out of Favor: Fiber Persisted. The Rewards of Recognition,” Rhonda Brown, ArteMorbida, April 2023
“browngrotta arts’ Spring Exhibition: Acclaim!,” selvedge magazine, April 11, 2023
“Vignettes: an exhibition triptych,” selvedge blog, October 1, 2023“
“Glen Kaufman: an Art Odyssey,” Rhonda Brown, Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot, Winter 2023

Talks Live

WordPlay Exhibition Walkthrough with Co-Curator Tom Grotta, Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT — 44 people attended; 221 viewed online

Artist Talk: John McQueen, in conjunction with WordPlay: Messages in Branches & Bark, Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT— 78 people attended; 245 viewed online
Contemporary Art Textiles and Fiber Sculpture, Ridgefield Library, CT, Tom Grotta
Perspectives: Assessing Contemporary Fiber Art, Appraisers Association of America, New York, NY, Tom Grotta  

Talks Online

Screwing With Order:  An Online Conversation with Gyöngy Laky, with the Flinn Gallery — 
77 people joined; 195 viewed since
Center Stage with Pamela Kuhn, WordPlay with Gyöngy Laky and Nancy Heller, Radio Interview
Art on the Rocks an art walkthrough with a twist: Acclaim!, Rhonda Brown 
Art on the Rocks an art walkthrough with a twist: Vignettes, Rhonda Brown

Viewing Rooms on Artsy
Spotlight: Work by Norma Minkowitz and Wendy Wahl
WordPlay: Redux
Glen Kaufman: Retrospective: 1960 – 2010
Dorothy Gill Barnes: collaboration with nature
An Abundance of Objects

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Thanks again for your support and attendance — we’ll keep the art coming in 2024!

Material Matters: Indigo

Indigo dyeing is a universal practice. Textiles are produced with indigo throughout America, China, India, Africa, Central Asia, Japan, Laos, and Vietnam. “The process unfolds in the same manner the world over, involving exactly the same steps: cultivation or wild harvesting of the plant, extraction of the pigment, preparation of the dye bath, and dying of the cloth or yarn,” says Catherine Legrand, author of the gorgeous and expansive book, Indigo: the Color that Changed the World (Thames & Hudson, London, 2013). “The weaver and/or tailor or embroiderer then transforms the dyed cloth into garments of sublime beauty. From one end of the globe to the other I have seen people who work with indigo as if spellbound by its potential for for magical transformation.” 

indigo textiles by Barton, Bassler, Portillo
Indigo works by Polly Barton, James Bassler and Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila

Many of the artists at browngrotta arts work with indigo. Search for indigo on and you’ll find 81 works from Asia, the US, Europe, the UK and Venezuela. The artists include Ethel Stein (US), Hiroyuki Shindo (JP), Yeonsoon Chang (KO), Chiyoko Tanaka (JP), Glen Kaufman (US), Susie Gillespie (UK), Sue Lawty (UK), Heidrun Schimmel (DE), Kiyomi Iwata (JP/US), and Chiaki and Kaori Maki (JP). Among those proficient in ikat are Jim Bassler (US), Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila (VE) and Polly Barton (UK) whose works we loaned to Albuquerque Museum’s 2022 exhibition Indelible Blue: Indigo Around the World and the Denver Botanical Garden’s Indigo exhibition in 2023. These four share some of their thoughts on indigo below.

James Bassler Beetling
James Bassler pounding indigo cloth. Photo courtesy of James Bassler

“When we lived on the Pacific coast,” Jim Bassler (US) says, “I maintained an indigo pot most of the time. In the 1990s I became interested in a particular process used in Africa, with indigo, called beetle. It involved pounding the finished linen cloth with a wooden mallet called a beetle, to put a glossy finish on the cloth by flattening the fibers.  I wove four wedge-weave tapestries. After weaving them, I would put them on a flat cement surface, run water over the surface and beat them with a wooden mallet.  After a few mishaps — holes in the cloth — I learned to temper my force. The weavings became very stiff and flat. The interlocking linen fibers were locked into position. The series, all blue and natural linen, was based on a wedge shape, going from large to small.”

María Eugenia Dávila & Eduardo Portillo indigo dyeing
María Eugenia Dávila & Eduardo Portillo indigo dyeing. Photo courtesy of María Eugenia Dávila & Eduardo Portillo

Eduardo Portillo and Mariá Dávila in Venezuela also write about the indigo vat. “To travel in search for Indigo could be a motive for a lifetime itself, every “vat” is different, each vision is unique, a synthesis of history, culture and life,” the couple says, “at last we  decided to try to find our own blue and attempted to interlace this color with our searches, exploring the art of indigo dyeing, immersed in their vats again and over again, and bringing it to textiles structures that move us near to everyday blue moments: the night, the moon, the sky, the clouds, dawn, moments of everybody, moments filled with blue.” 

Indigo is the ultimate blue. It’s thought to be the color of wisdom and intuition, promoting deeper focus. “Blue is a color of multiple meanings,” say Portillo and Dávila. “It is also the color of hope as every day dawns and the blue accompanies us in the sky, in the sea and in the distant mountains. In 2002 we found the indigo blue and drew lines to see the color of the peoples of Southeast Asia, of the Desert’s blue men, the Andean textiles and blue jeans, the eternal blue.”

Indigo is the ultimate blue, thought to be the color of wisdom and intuition, promoting deeper focus. “Blue is a color of multiple meanings,” say Portillo and Davilá. “It is also the color of hope as every day dawns and the blue accompanies us in the sky, in the sea and in the distant mountains. In 2002 we found the indigo blue and drew lines to see the color of the peoples of Southeast Asia, of the desert’s blue men, the Andean textiles and blue jeans, the eternal blue.”

Polly Barton working on Synapse
Polly Barton working on Synapse. Photos courtesy of Polly Barton

The complex colors of indigo, which Polly Barton (US) often incorporates into her work, were an inspiration for her work Synapse. In making Synapse, Barton was inspired by a drawing of the shadow cast by her swift— the weaver’s tool for unwinding thread from a loose bundle onto a useful, untangled spool. “At the time,” she says, “my father had succumbed to Alzheimer’s.” Barton saw the “swirls of indigo blues, deep and cloudy, tied and locked into threads, as memories slipping away.” 

Polly Barton indigo dyed threads
Polly Barton indigo-dyed threads. Photo courtesy of Polly Barton

Portillo and Dávila consider it a privilege to get closer to the processes to obtain indigo and to be part of the continuity over the time by using this unique color. “In a certain way,” they say, “we feel the imprint of those who preceded us is also reflected in our work.” To the couple,  textiles represent a way of thinking. They are “a means of expression in which some materials have their own voice and contribute in the construction of an idea, they are tangible and identifiable and may contain a history which does not necessarily have to be known to appreciate its attribute.” This is the case with indigo, “one of the oldest known dyes whose complex production methods has been created over the time according to the nuance of each culture fusing the past, present and future in a single color.”

Indigo self-portrait María Eugenia Dávila & Eduardo Portillo
Indigo self-portrait. María Eugenia Dávila & Eduardo Portillo

Get an Art Start to the New Year

Jin-Sook So, Flower Blue Bowls, steel mesh, electroplated silver, gold leaf, acrylic, steel thread (optional floating wood shelf) 2023. Photo by Tom Grotta

We wish all of you moments of comfort and joy in the New Year. We hope, too, for some glimmers of peace worldwide. Below are some suggestions for getting bursts of beauty, inspiration and entertainment throughout 2024.

• Immerse yourself in art.
Check out these exciting exhibitions before they close.

Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction
Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum, CA, through January 21, 2024

A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes
Cooper Hewitt, New York, NY, through February 4, 2024

Threaded Visions: Contemporary Weavings from the Collection
Art Institute of Chicago, IL, through August 26, 2024 

Inside Other Spaces. Environments by Women Artists 1956-1976
Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, through March 10, 2024

Circe: A Goddess for Our Time
Eastern University Connecticut University, Wlllamantic, through April 15, 2024

Making Their Mark
Shah Garg Foundation, New York, NY, though January 24, 2024

Double Weave: Bourne and Allen’s Modernist Textiles
Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, East Sussex, UK, through April 14, 2024

• Read an inspiring art book. 


From Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction, which The New York Times called a “best art book” of 2023, to Gyöngy Laky’s thoughts on poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Wendy Wahl’s on Adam Gopnik’s The Real Work: The Mystery of Mastery, find a profusion of artist recommendations and ours on arttextstyle, “Books Make Great Gifts, Part 1 and Part 2.”

• Prepare for an art-filled Spring. 

Irina Kolesnikova, Polly Sutton, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Mary Merkel-Hess
Discourse: art across generations: art across continents: Left to right: Irina Kolesnikova, Polly Sutton, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette and Mary Merkel-Hess. Photo by Tom Grotta

Plan ahead to visit upcoming exhibitions at browngrotta arts, including: Discourse: art across generations: art across continents, Wilton. CT, May 3 -12, 2024;  Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, May 31, 2024 -January 5, 2025, Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within, Noguchi Museum, Long Island, NY, March 20 – July 29, 2024 and  Lubaina Hamid: Lost Threads, The Holbourne Museum, Bath, UK, from January 19 – April 24, 2024.

• Cheer the New Year with a curated cocktail. 

Max holding prepared cocktail
Max Fanwick holding one of this year’s prepared cocktails. Photo by Michael Propersi

Wandering in Okayama, was created by Max Fanwick for the browngrotta arts’ exhibition Vignettes: one venue, three exhibitions. Okayama is the Peach Prefecture in Japan. The drink is a hat-tip to our fall exhibition of Glen Kaufman’s work. Kaufman headed the fiber design program at the University of Georgia, and spent much of his career in Japan at the university’s study abroad program. 

Wandering in Okayama
2oz Shochu
1oz Ginger Liquor
2oz Peach Nectar
1oz Lemon Juice
2oz Carbonated Water
Mix and Carbonate. Serve over Ice. 
Note: Only fill a soda stream 1/3 of the way and release from device VERY, VERY slowly. Substitute sparkling water if you’ve got no  carbonation equipment on hand.                                                         
Garnish with melon-balled pieces of peach soaked in a mixture of equal parts simple syrup, lemon juice and peach vodka for 24 hours.

Best Wishes for 2024!

Tom & Rhonda

Art Assembled – New This Week in December

Welcome to the December edition of our Art Assembled series, where we unwrap a month filled with vibrant creations from talented artists. December is a unique time of year, marked by its own kind of magic and reflection. And in December, we had the pleasure of showcasing the incredible works of Dominic Di Mare, Lizzie Farey, Karyl Sisson, and Gizella Warburton. Each artist has brought their unique perspective and creative energy to our New This Week series.

As we approach the year’s end, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to you, our loyal supporters and art enthusiasts. Your passion for art fuels our mission, and we’re excited to continue sharing the beauty and creativity of contemporary art with you.

Read on to discover what new art we showcased throughout December!

Dominic Di Mare
29ddm Mourning Station #4, Dominic Di Mare, hawthorn, handmade paper, silk, bone, bird’s egg, feathers, gold and wood beads, 13″ x 7″ x 7″, 1981. Photo by Tom Grotta.

Our month began with a spotlight on Dominic Di Mare‘s exceptional body of work. Di Mare, a distinguished American artist and craftsperson, has left an indelible mark on the world of contemporary art through his diverse array of creative expressions. His artistic voyage has been a testament to his pioneering spirit, always pushing the boundaries of what art can be.

Dominic first garnered acclaim for his groundbreaking work in dimensional weaving in the 1960s, a period when he carved a distinctive niche for himself in the art world. His ability to weave together intricate patterns and textures in three-dimensional space was nothing short of revolutionary. In the 1970s, Di Mare embarked on a new artistic journey, venturing into the realm of cast paper art. This phase saw him seamlessly blend elements of paper, sculpture, and mixed media into a mesmerizing

Over the years, Di Mare’s artistic journey continued to evolve, exploring watercolor paintings and abstract mixed-media sculpture. His art often touches on themes of personal spirituality, inviting viewers to embark on their own introspective journeys through his creations.

Lizzie Farey
3lf.1 Willow Ball 2 Lizzie Farey, willow 18” x 18” x 18”, 2000

Up next in December, we turned out spotlight to Lizzie Farey, a remarkable artist residing in from Scotland. Farey’s work is a testament to her deep connection with the natural world, drawing inspiration from the inherent qualities of the materials found in her Scottish surroundings.

Using locally grown woods such as willow, birch, heather, and bog myrtle, Farey’s creations encompass a wide range, from traditional to organic sculptural forms. Her innovative approach often pushes the boundaries of traditional techniques, resulting in pieces that are both rooted in tradition and remarkably contemporary.

Farey’s art invites viewers to reconnect with the profound pleasures of nature, transporting them to a universal place and time. Her creations are a harmonious fusion of the tangible and the ethereal, showcasing the boundless beauty found in the world around us.

Karyl Sisson
100ks Fissueres III, Karyl Sisson, vintage drinking straws, thread and polymer, 16.5” x 16.5” x 1.75”, 2019

We then turned our attention to Karyl Sisson, a visionary artist based in Los Angeles. Sisson’s work is a testament to her extraordinary ability to weave together the fibers of everyday life, seamlessly blending elements of the past and the present into sculptural and textured forms that transcend traditional boundaries.

Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of sources, including the landscape of Los Angeles, microbiology, and fashion manufacturing, Sisson’s art is a captivating exploration of patterns, repetition, and structure. These themes are at the heart of her work, and she approaches them dimensionally, building upon her foundation in basketry and needlework.

One can’t help but be captivated by Sisson’s innovative use of materials, a practice that allows her to confront domesticity and challenge traditional gender roles. Her recent foray into working with paper straws, inspired by the intricate world of cells and organisms, has resulted in creations that appear to grow naturally and organically, inviting viewers to marvel at the wonders of the microscopic world.

Gizella Warburton
32gw Scirpi Xiii, Gizella Warburton, mixed media fiber sculpture, paint , thread, 13.75″ x 13.75″ x 13.75″, 2023

Last, but certainly not least, we turned our focus to Gizella Warburton, an artist whose abstract compositions take shape through the tactile and contemplative process of drawing with paper, cloth, and thread. Warburton’s artistic journey is deeply intertwined with the materiality of her chosen mediums—cloth, paper, thread, wood, and paint. Through these elements, she connects with an innate human desire to create marks, to decipher the meaning of our physical and emotional landscapes, and to explore the transient nature of the warp and weft of our lives.

The slow, tactile intimacy of stitching serves as a mantra in Warburton’s work, inviting viewers to join her in a contemplative journey. Her creations evoke a sense of meditation, as if each mark and stitch were carefully placed to guide us through the intricate labyrinth of emotions and experiences.

Warburton’s artistry has been showcased in exhibitions across the UK, Europe, and Australia, leaving an indelible mark on the global art scene. Her work invites us to pause, reflect, and unravel the layers of meaning woven into the fabric of our existence.

As we bid farewell to December and this year, we look ahead with great anticipation for what the new year will bring. Thank you for being a part of our art-loving community. We wish you a joyful holiday season and a new year filled with inspiration, creativity, and the boundless beauty of contemporary art. Cheers to the exciting adventures that await us in the year ahead!

Books Make Great Gifts 2023, Part 2

Here, as promised, a second batch of book recommendations from artists and browngrotta arts:

The Real Work On the Mystery of Mastery-Adam Gopnik

Wendy Wahl (US), writes that “Most mornings I find my spouse reading a book. It was clear that The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery by Adam Gopnik was speaking to his inner being as a furniture maker and writer. With each chapter he would share a quote or passage followed by, ‘I think you’re going to like this one.’ When he gave me the book it contained many dog-eared pages. I started with those, wondering what needed to be revisited. From start to finish Adam Gopnik reveals his trials, failures, and triumphs while trying to become proficient at something unfamiliar like drawing, magic, driving, baking, boxing, and overcoming fears. Through these short stories, he invites us to look at our own “mystery of mastery” that he suggests we all possess in some grand or compact form. His humor and skill at storytelling give us a glimpse into his approach as a novelist and critic.”

The Wave - In Pursuit of The Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of The Ocean

This year Wahl also herself immersed in Susan Casey’s The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean (Anchor, 2011). which documents enormous waves and the surfers who travel the globe in search of them. “Reading about this takes me to a place where I can imagine the incredibly heightened sensation of being while knowing it could be my last breath. I’m not called to the water in that way. However, Casey has also given us Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins (Anchor, 2016). She reveals the light and dark characteristics of these amazing cetaceans and the conditions created by human interaction. I read this during an expansive experience of swimming with dolphins in the wild on their terms and learning to think like one.”

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

In exhibition catalog recommendations, Wahl had two. “There are two exhibitions that I was unable to attend but grateful that one had a catalog and the other a monograph. The first exhibition was Encyclopedism from Pliny to Borges at the University of Chicago Library (Encyclopedism from Pliny to Borges, University of Chicago Library, 1990). The exhibition included 77 volumes from the Library’s rare book collection highlighting the different forms of encyclopedias. I stumbled across this exhibition doing research as an artist who uses discarded encyclopedias in their work. Viewing it through the online and physical catalogs has given me another perspective on these books. The second was the exhibition Gego: Measuring Infinity at the Guggenheim, in New York this year (Gego: Measuring InfinityGuggenheim Museum Publications).  A dear friend sent me the monograph after a conversation we had about missed exhibitions. She said, ‘As someone who makes, makes, makes, you need to have this book. I was moderately familiar with Gego’s work and this publication presents the breadth of her talent as a sculptor, painter, and printmaker.'”  

Life with Picasso by Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake

“Going back in time a bit,” writes Lizzie Farey (UK) “I am currently gripped by Life with Picasso by Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake (Virago Press, Ltd, 1990). “This memoir,” the publisher writes, “is both a vivid portrait of a monstrously difficult man and a brilliant depiction of a great artist at work.” When Picasso met the young painter Francoise Gilot in a Parisian Cafe he was 62 and already acknowledged as the greatest artist of his century. During the next 10 years they were lovers, worked closely together and she became the mother of two of his children, Claude and Paloma.  In an account filled with intimate revelations about the man, his work, his thoughts, his friends – Matisse, Braque, Gertrude Stein and Giacometti amongst others – Francoise Gilot paints a compelling portrait of her turbulent life with the temperamental genius that was Pablo Picasso. 

Persepolis: the story of a childhood

Carolina Yrarrázaval (CH) has been reading Persepolis: the story of a childhood (Pantheon Classics, 2004) by Marlane Satrapi. A “wonderful book,” she says of Satrapi’s depiction of her childhood in Tehran through it’s revolution

Four Seasons in Rome, Cloud Cuckoo Land, All the Light We Cannot See, These Truths: A History of the United States,  If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

“I did an enjoyable deep dive into Andrew Doerr this year,” Blair Tate (US) writes, “I  started with Four Seasons in Rome (Scribner, 2008), while visiting there, then Cloud Cuckoo Land (Scribner, 2022) (a previous year’s recommendation) and All the Light We Cannot See (Scribner, 2017). Tate also recommends: These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore (W.W. Norton & Co., 2019) and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (Vintage Paperback, 2023). 

Fabric: The Hidden History of the Material World

Fabric: The Hidden History of the Material World (Pegasus Books, 2022) by Victoria Finlay is highly recommended by Gizella Warburton (UK). “It is a moving and informative read.” 

I Paint What I Want to See, Barbara Riboud/Aberto Giacometti: Standing Women, Craft, edited by Tanya Harrod

Stéphanie Jacques (BE) has three books on her list. First, I Paint What I Want to See, Philip Guston (Penguin Classics, 2022) “Thank God for yellow ochre, cadmium red medium, and permanent green light,” says the author. One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, he speaks about art with candor and commitment. Second on Jacques’ list is an exhibition catalog, Barbara Riboud/Aberto Giacometti: Standing Women (FAGE, 2021). Riboud is a sculptor, who, like Giacometti, has focused on the human body. In this catalog, she describes her work and Giacometti’s influence. Finally, Jacques recommends, Craftedited by Tanya Harrod (MIT 2018), billed as “[a] secret history of craft told through lost and overlooked texts that illuminate our understanding of current art practice.”

Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science

At browngrotta arts, we’re hoping to use some of the quieter days between Christmas and New Year’s to delve deeper into some of the compelling art books that we’ve picked up this year. Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Scienceedited by Rebecca McNamara (DelMonico Books/Tang, 2023) celebrates the overlap between art, science, interdisciplinary creativity, and collaborative learning. It features artists at work in these areas, including Lia Cook. And, it explores engaging questions, such as: Can crochet explain the complexities of non-Euclidean geometry? How does the 1804 Jacquard loom relate to modern computing? Why do we respond differently to a woven photograph than a printed one?

Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction

Chosen as one of the year’s best art book by The New York Times, Woven Histories: Textiles and Modern Abstraction, edited by Lynne Cook (University of the Chicago Press, 2023) is high on our list and sold on our list. “The sheer variety of work produced by more than 50 artists chosen by the book’s editor, Lynne Cooke, will knock your socks off,” writes Holland Carter.”(Just wait till you see what’s happening in the field of basketry alone.)” The exhibition on which the book is based, will travel to several venues, including LACMA in Los Angeles, the National Gallery in DC and then MoMA in New York City. It includes many browngrotta arts’ favorites: Kay Sekimachi, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Ed Rossbach, Katherine Westphal, Lenore Tawney and Sheila Hicks.

Another book that accompanies an exhibition is Making Their Mark: Art by Women Artists from the Shah Karg Collection (eds. Katy Siegel and Mark Godfrey, Gregory R.Miller & Co. 2023). This book explores the extensive collection of work by women artists compiled by Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg. There are essays, artists’ commentary, and more than 250 pages of plates of work by diverse group of artists that includes Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Olga de Amaral, Kay Sekimachi, Rosemarie Trockel, Trude Guermonprez, Jennifer Bartlett, and Faith Ringgold.

We are big fans of Weaving Modernist Art: The Life and Work of Mariette Rousseau-Vermette by Anne Newlands (Firefly Books, 2023), available on our website, and not just because you’ll find Tom Grotta’s photos in the book. Born into a large French-Canadian family in 1926, Mariette Rousseau embraced her passion for creative expression through wool and weaving at an early age. She studied art and weaving at l’École des beaux-arts in Quebec City and then worked at the California studio of ground-breaking American textile designer Dorothy Liebes. Back in Canada after an art-inspired trip to Europe, she and her husband, artist and ceramist Claude Vermette, joined the growing movement of young French-Canadian artists in their embrace of abstraction and new forms of art. The book covers her work in Canada and abroad, her collaborations with architects, involvement in the Lausanne Biennial of International Tapestry and leadership of the fiber program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Vogue Magazine called Helen Molesworth, the Art World’s Most Beloved Provocateur.” The former curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (from which she was fired) she is also an art historian, a writer, a curator, a critic, and a podcaster. Her latest book, Open Questions: Thirty Years of Writing about Art (Phaidon 2023), includes 30 years’ of essays on artists as diverse as Ruth Asawa and Marcel Duchamp. 

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957

We’ve got a copy of Molesworth’s Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 (Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2015) to crack. A major incubator of midcentury American art, Black Mountain College in North Carolina was founded in 1933, as an experiment in making artistic experience central to learning. In just 24 years, this pioneering school played a significant role in fostering avant-garde art, music, dance, and poetry. An astonishing number of important artists taught or studied there. Among the instructors were Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Karen Karnes, M. C. Richards, and Willem de Kooning, and students included Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly. The publisher says the book takes “a fresh approach” to convey the atmosphere of creativity and experimentation that was unique to Black Mountain, and served as an inspiration to so many.

We can’t wait … Happy Reading!