Blue Hill Library to exhibit items created by local weaver

Posted Dec. 28, 2009, at 4:44 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:25 a.m.

Libraries are wonderful allies when it comes to exhibiting fiber art, and the Blue Hill Public Library sets the standard for such displays. What better way to start the new year than to take in an exhibit of woven items created by a local woman?

The following information was supplied in a press release sent by the library:

Mary Anderson Chase will exhibit Swedish-style hand-woven textiles at the Blue Hill Public Library during January. The retrospective will showcase a collection of table runners in linen, linen tow, cotton and linen, and cottolin.

“These yarns take dyes particularly well,” said her daughter Lisa Chase. “When the completed article is properly mangled to a hard finish, they sparkle with a depth and complexity of color that elevates the domestic arts to a high level of design to bring joy and pleasure to the heart of the home.”

The table runners in the exhibit were woven between 1973 and 1988 by Mary Anderson Chase and others using her designs.

Chase took up weaving in midlife after raising seven children. A new home and a new life in Brooksville presented her with the opportunity to study weaving with Peter Collingwood, an English weaver at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, in the early 1970s. She subsequently undertook a course of study at Saterglantan, a well-known crafts school in Dalarna, Sweden.

A Swedish-American with a background in painting and drawing, art history and fashion design, Chase naturally returned to her roots in Sweden, which has a rich and cultivated handcraft tradition. A passion for linen and subsequent interest in the cultivation and processing of flax into linen also took her to Belgium, an ancient center of flax production.

In 1973 Chase opened a shop in “downtown” Brooksville in the building that once had been Condon’s grocery store, immortalized in Robert McCloskey’s “One Morning in Maine.” There she sold knitting and weaving yarns and supplies, Swedish handcrafts and her own hand-woven textiles. She also taught weaving and gave workshops in the cultivation and processing of flax for 15 years to a legion of students of all ages.

The public is invited to an opening reception 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, at the library. The exhibit will be available for viewing during library hours for January. For more information, call the library at 374-5515.

Snippets

— With the coming of the new year, I resolve to put some order in the room where I store fabric and yarn — no small job, that, given the fact that I tend to throw stuff in there with an abandon that surprises me. It has reached the point that I have to step around bags of this and bins of that to get to the fabric or yarn I want.

I’ve cleaned and set this room to order many times, and I always enjoy it. I always find stuff I had forgotten I had — such as the heather-brown Irish yarn that was perfect for boot socks for my son, or the carnation-pink linen fabric studded with sequins and embellished with machine embroidery I bought several summers ago.

It’s always difficult for me to decide what needs to be culled and donated to a good cause. I think that’s because I can’t help envisioning what that piece of cloth or that skein of yarn might become.

I will need to buy some new bins, and this time around I’ve resolved to label them — wool, fancy fabrics, cotton, linen, whatever. I also want to arrange things so that when I want beads I can find them easily. Or when I want that ball of Bolivian alpaca to knit tiny socks for a grandson expected in February I can lay my hand right on it.

I look forward to this cleaning spree. I like order and symmetry, and I like the process of sorting and organizing things.

I hope cleaning that little room stuffed so full of the materials for creative endeavors won’t take all of 2010 to accomplish!

— Planning is under way for the 2010 Make It With Fiber in Maine competition. For more information, e-mail Michaele Bailey at mbailey@umext.maine.edu, or call her at 581-3872.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or e-mail ahamlin@bangordailynews.net.

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