Hunter / Shea Fiber Art Exhibit
Exhibit: May 24 – June 26, 2018
Artist’s Reception: May 24, 2018, 5-7 PM
There has been buzz lately about hygge (hoo-gah) the Danish word which translates as cozy. A New York Times article described hygge as “a national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, care and other people.”
Elizabeth Hunter sees this pursuit as a collectively personal, more introspective quest. Hygge, she believes is the necessity of finding an inner peace, a sanctuary, in your living space, no matter the space’s size. It’s her observation that Scandinavian simplicity and colors are one certain means of arriving at that place.
Hunter’s asymmetrical, one of a kind rugs are often likened to abstract landscapes. She assembles handcut strips of fabric that she weaves using Scandinavian techniques on a Scandinavian countermarche loom, an old Toika. She integrates the key elements of Nordic traditions (simplicity and color) into her work evoking the clarity and calm that are foundational to hygge. Hunter’s technical expertise and artistic vision beautifully exhibits these principles in her weaving, creating finely crafted, originally designed rugs that are paintings for the floor.
She will also be exhibiting 2’ x 2’ pillows which are two-of-a-kind studies in color and texture. Some are filled with down; some with polyfill. Made with vintage yarn gifted from a friend who had to give up her work, every pillow is filled with the joy of friendship.
Elizabeth Hunter has been working with colors since the 1960’s, when she first learned to weave on a floor loom with noted fabric designer Klara Cherepov in Greenwich, Ct. She studied weaving and design in Oslo, Norway for six months in the mid 1970’s. More recently Hunter has studied in Reykjavik, Iceland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands and Landskrona, Sweden.
Ms. Hunter holds a BA from the University of Connecticut and an MA from American University, in print journalism. She writes for the Norwegian Textile Letter and is a longtime real estate paralegal, now on call to one firm. She is a member of the Surface Design Association and the Maine Crafts Association.
Melissa Shea is diligently working. At everything. Rangeley folks know her smiling face from visits to the weekly Rangeley Farmers Market where she sells her organic produce, harvested honey, original salsas and home processed lip balms, lotion bars, and salves. She will greet you over dinner at Forks in the Air Mountain Bistro and, if she’s not busy covering too many tables, fill you in on the details of her latest project or expedition. This May you can see more of Melissa at the Lakeside Contemporary Art Gallery from May 24-June 26 in an exhibition of her handcrafted baskets.
Never completely sidelined, Melissa did have to stay put one winter while recuperating from an injury. Thus began an intensive study of the art of basket-making. A dedicated conservationist, she knew her materials had to be locally sourced, sustainable and conscientiously processed. Inspired by the practical uses of traditional basketry, Shea went about incorporating farm and household tools and objects found in nature, into making her baskets, in dedication to functionality. Her lines and weaving explore a variety of patterns, exhibiting an unwavering attention to detail. Sturdy and precise, each basket is intelligently crafted in forms and colors of timeless style. Shea’s basket handles are a departure from the usual yet these repurposed implements stay true to her preservationist objectives. Her recently finished laundry basket uses pulp hooks from the logging industry as handles. Other baskets have integrated vintage drills, rolling pins, door handles, garden claws, and of course antlers and other pieces and bits Melissa Shea finds outdoors working her beloved Maine land.
A graduate of Colby College, Melissa Shea is a certified organic farmer with 150 acres of farmland and forests to oversee. Her crops at The Mountain Farm include vegetables and herbs, apples, cherries, pears, hops, blueberries, strawberries, honey and cider. Her 43 acre tract in New Vineyard is 100 percent solar and wind powered. She is a Registered Maine Guide and with her Australian Sheepdogs, a volunteer with the Franklin County Search and Rescue Crew. Melissa Shea recently returned from Nepal, where she leads mountain climbing expeditions.