Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Hidden Stories/Human Lives: Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 17th Biennial Symposium, October 15-17, 2020. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/

doi: 10.32873/unl.dc.tsasp.0134


Copyright © 2020 Polly Barton


Four Artists: Sumiko Deguchi, Helen Frankenthaler, Pat Hickman and Adya van Rees Dutilh

I want to speak today about 4 artists who have been very influential in my life as an artist, in how I approach my work at the loom, and to whom I return to for emotional guidance when I feel lost or despair that I might never again have another idea.

They are compelling women; role models, each in their own way. I hope that in sharing with you how their work inspires me, it might also lead to some thoughts on the nature of working with fiber, and its inherent intelligence.

I also want to be clear that when I speak about their work, I am looking and thinking through a metaphysical or spiritual lens — a lens that I am comfortable with as the daughter of an Episcopal priest (my father) and a collage artist (my mother). I grew up in a home in which the dinner conversations and church life centered around issues most often around the arts as they relate to interfaith and the various and uniting experiences of god — in whatever form he or she appears — as expressed through art.