Design Week

New Showcase Aims to Prove Macrame Is Cooler Than You Thought

Cotton, linen, wool: as long as it's fiber, it's fair game.

By Meagan Nolan April 11, 2017

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Sarah Neubert's woven wall hanging combines hemp, cotton, and chenille.

Image: Sarah Neubert

Cotton. Linen. Wool. Those humble textiles get the spotlight as part of a new exhibit of fiber art from up and down the left coast. The mission of The Modern Craft of Fiber Art—opening April 20, with an April 25 open house as part of Design Week Portland—is to highlight the artistic diversity of the fiber art form, featuring everything from weaving and macrame to surface design and natural dyes. The pieces will be presented salon-style atop Kat + Maouche’s fabulously luxurious Moroccan rugs. 

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This bubble dress by Amabelle Aguiluz uses an organic cotton knit.

Organizer (and occasional PoMo photographer) Chris Dibble says he encouraged the participating artists to have “free reign” in their artistic process, with only one limitation: their pieces must be made of fiber. As Dibble points out, fiber can be both versatile and functional, offering a nearly endless spectrum of mediums, such as cotton, hemp, linen, and fur.

“Fiber art, in particular, is interesting to me,” Dibble says, “because of the manipulation an artist can impose on it by weaving with it, dying it, felting it, making it into rope or a dimensional sculpture.” As a weaver himself, he admits to being slightly biased in such pursuits, but is always excited “to see other forms of fiber art, such as felting, macrame, knitting, quilting, surface manipulation and design, etc.”

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A hanging by Janelle Pietrzak

Drawing from his experience with pop-up retail project Stockpiler, Dibble aims to highlight both the practical and the purely aesthetic aspects of fiber art, promoting “artists and makers to help foster a creative community.” Dibble says, “it’s my own way to be a patron of the arts.”

When asked about the highlight of the showcase, Dibble remains impartial to the various works, admitting he's often stunned by the various reactions. “Someone will think one piece is the highlight, and someone else will fall in love with an entirely different piece,” he says, promising viewers will not be disappointed by the wide-ranging showcase.

For maximum inspiration, the Design Week open house also features a live weaving demonstration, a macrame give-away, and (of course) wine and snacks.

The Modern Craft of Fiber Art

Apr 20–May 30 (Design Week Portland open house: 4–7 p.m. Tue, Apr 25), Kat + Maouche

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