Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



From Creating Textiles: Makers, Methods, Markets. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Inc. New York, NY, September 23–26, 1998 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1999).


Copyright © 1998 by the author(s)


This panel discussion provided a forum for an exploration of the place and meaning of contemporary textile art. It was one of several concurrent panels held on the final afternoon of the Sixth Biennial Textile Society of America Symposium. Textiles An Art Form For the 90's brought together artists and enthusiasts from many backgrounds and with different perspectives. Four participants presented formal papers accompanied by slides. This was followed by a panel discussion.

The chairperson was Patricia Malarcher, editor of Surface Design Journal. She shared the viewpoint of the media. Malarcher also presented Susan Lordi Marker's paper. Marker was unfortunately unable to attend due to illness. An artist and educator, Marker is very involved in the latest trends in fiber. Her presentation discussed the techniques of devore and cloque. She shared her own current work and that of three colleagues, all utilizing these techniques to achieve complexity of structure and symbolism. Next, Gyongy Laky, a well-known Bay Area artist, presented a paper on another current trend. Many artists have been looking to the environment as a source of not only inspiration, but also materials. Laky is using tree prunings, fiber, and found materials like wire to create art that she refers to as "textile architecture." Other artists are creating similar pieces or environmental installations, exploring the metaphors of our relationship to nature.

The third participant was Laurel Reuter, the director and a founder of the North Dakota Museum of Art. She shared stories and visuals from the exhibition Light and Shadow: Japanese Artists in Space. She discussed the use of repetition, scale, color and light in the works of several artists who adapt traditional textile techniques in the creation of new forms. The final presenter, Tom Grotta, discussed the marketing of fiber art. He is co-owner of the BrowniGrotta Gallery in Wilton, Connecticut, a gallery that solely represents fiber artists. A gifted photographer, Grotta creates lush and enticing images of the art that is then used in the gallery's exhibition catalogs. These quality images are integral to the promotion of fiber art.