Carbondale’s April First Friday event showcases art pieces inspired by artifacts and redefines the mixed fiber medium
Jill Scher and Jan Schubert are twin sisters and after living on opposite coasts for decades will finally have an exhibit showcasing both of their artwork. The group exhibition “Contemporary Fiber Art: Crossing Thresholds,” will open April 2 for the Carbondale First Friday celebration.
“It’s been a dream for us to be able to work together and collaborate. We used to spend hours in our studios on the phone with one another as we were both working, you know, thousands of miles apart,” Schubert said.
The sisters will be participating in an artist talk along with Greg Watts and Alice Bedard-Voorhees, the curators of “Stone Souls” the other exhibit opening at the Launchpad. The talk will be held outside at 5:15 p.m. and wearing masks will be required, and up to 10 people will be allowed into the gallery at a time. Brian Colley, Gallery Manager for Carbondale Arts, said the exhibits will be running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until April 29. He described the collaboration that went into “Stone Souls” between Watts and Bedard-Voorhees, and how they traveled out to canyons near Moab, Utah for inspiration.
“Greg and Alice … are doing photography and mixed media printmaking. They worked together, during the pandemic actually, to go check out some canyon walls and get inspired by petroglyphs. … They decided to do a collaborative trip so they could talk about the area they went to and look at the different panels of pictographs,” Colley said.
April’s First Friday celebration is also a turning point in the pandemic – Colley said there may be added virtual interviews with non-local artists later, but that this exhibit will mark the return of bringing back in-person first fridays.
“As far as I know the last month was the last sort of virtual first friday (we) were planning on doing. I know Batch is reopening this week … they’ve been closed the whole pandemic pretty much,” Colley said.
Scher is the curator of “Contemporary Fiber Art: Crossing Thresholds,” and said she primarily worked as a weaver for many decades, while Schubert said she began working with the felting medium in her late 20s but now focuses on beeswax as her medium for her candle making business. There are six artists in the show and two will have short films shown documenting the process of their fiber arts work.
“People are really used to coming and looking at paintings or sculptures, and fiber is more unknown. At least fiber as fine art. It was one of the reasons I wanted to do this show was to show a broader spectrum of what is possible with fiber and show it as a true high art form,” Scher said.
The intent behind the show is to change the way people perceive fiber arts. Opening their exhibit in tandem with “Stone Souls” after a year of the pandemic gives them encouragement, Scher said, that more art events will be opening up and people will be able to gather the way they used to again soon. This combined with the sisters both working in Carbondale and being able to showcase together is another reason to celebrate, Schubert said.
“Jill was on the east coast and I was in California and we spent all of our adult lives on opposite coasts so this has been a really huge thing for me … I’ve been trying to get here for a long, long time. … And I finally got here three years ago. (I have) gratitude for us being here, where we are now,” Schubert said.
Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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