June 23, 2018
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‘Encounters’ exhibit at Maine Fiberarts

By Ardeana Hamlin, BDN Staff

Maine is overflowing with fiber art in all seasons, but especially so in summer. One of the leaders in keeping fiber art in the public eye is Christine Macchi, executive director of Maine Fiberarts in Topsham. She recently e-mailed this information:

“Encounters,” painted assemblages using handmade paper by Arlene Morris of Topsham, is on display through Aug. 31, at Maine Fiberarts in Topsham. A reception for the artist will take place 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6. The public is invited to attend.

Morris’ new series combines portraits and text using handmade paper, kozo fiber, paint and linen thread. The hanging pieces are quilted into expressive portrait reliefs, while the pedestal pieces are bound into striking books. Heavily layered paper, minimal in color and often scribed, is overlapped and torn to expose the grouped portraits.

About her work, Morris said, “In an effort to honor the beauty and simplicity of the handmade paper, I use a limited color palette. The paper is painted and then molded, torn, folded, pieced and assembled with linen thread. The portraits, while similar, are different and the words are only a glimpse and not meant to be read. In this way, the life of the piece comes through the texture, shadows and edges of the handmade paper.”

Her themes include the passage of time, innocence, magic realism and the mystery of stream of consciousness. Her work often portrays the moment in time where the real and the imagined come together in layers and speaks about themes both contemporary and rooted in history.

A creative writing assignment years ago when the artist was in college resulted in a four-page short work of nonfiction that consisted of a single sentence. The written piece remained with the artist and loosely gave rise to many of the works in this series. Words abstracted from the story appear across the canvas, paintings and pages of books on view in the exhibit.

For 10 years, Morris was the director of Spindleworks in Brunswick, an arts studio for developmentally disabled adults.

This is Morris’ first exhibit with Maine Fiberarts. Her work has been shown at the June Fitzpatrick Alternative Gallery in Portland, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, and Lord Hall Gallery at the University of Maine in Orono. Her work is in many public and private collections. One of her artist books is included in the Special Collections at Bowdoin College and one of her paintings is in the University of Southern Maine collection.

For information or to see a preview of the artist’s work, visit www.mainefiberarts.org or call 721-0678.


A fiber arts show, sale and demonstration will be held 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Lamoine Grange, Route 184 at Lamoine Corner.

A children’s story hour will take place at 10 a.m. and noon to entertain little ones while their parents enjoy the exhibit.

Spinning, weaving, quilting, macrame and sewing projects of all kinds will be featured.

Learn about the work of local artists who use fabric and fiber.

Some artisans will demonstrate their techniques and some will have pieces for sale.

The event is co-sponsored by Lamoine Grange and Lamoine Community Arts.

Rug weaver Sara Hotchkiss will hold an open house at her studio noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7-8, at 28 Pitcher Road in Waldoboro.

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