PORT TOWNSEND — Textile artists’ varied views of the Salish Sea are on display now at the Northwind Art Grover Gallery.
The gallery at 236 Taylor St., presents Undersea through May 30. It is composed of work by Tangled Fibers artists Pat Herkal, Barbara Ramsey, Jean-Marie Tarascio, and Cathie Wier with additional works by Tininha Silva. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
The Undersea collection is composed of cloth and fiber, wire and yarn, and paper and beads.
Some of the creatures are true-to-life while others are expressions of the group’s ocean-inspired imaginations.
Tangled Fibers is a small group of fiber and mixed media artists who meet regularly to share ideas about art and making art.
Each of the artists has different skills, styles and areas of interest, which inspires cross-pollination and exploration of multiple fiber techniques, the group said
“We are beachcombers and ocean lovers, amazed by the wonder of the undersea world and concerned about its future,” said Ramsey, who sews original abstract art works using traditional quilting techniques.
Like many traditional quilters, she’s devoted to precise construction, but unlike them, her designs distort geometric shapes in an effort to impel the viewer’s eye to roam over the surface of the quilt seeking the harmonies amidst contrast, she said.
In recent years, she has ventured into three-dimensional work, using fabric, wire, cardboard, and batting that imitate and embellish forms from the natural world.
“In preparation for this exhibit, the Tangled Fibers group steeped ourselves in books, documentaries, and hosted our own artists’ retreat on a Pacific Ocean beach near La Push,” Ramsey said.
“Our immersive research renewed our sense of wonder and enhanced our appreciation of the variety and complexity of the aquatic world.”
Herkal’s whimsical work mixes fiber, thread, beads, trinkets, shells, stones and found objects to create intricate jewelry, sculptures, wall hangings, critters and dolls.
“I create to fill my life with joy, to discover how to mix colors and textures, to honor the environment and to keep my brain nimble,” she said.
Tarascio creates of one-of-a-kind artist books and mixed media paper sculpture, brought forth from her years of training in book restoration.
She works with “the book as art” which provides her the opportunity to explore and experiment with traditional and non-traditional book structures, paper making and letterpress printing.
Recently, Tarascio has been exploring the diverse properties of paper, wire, and clay.
“Movement or the illusion of movement is a dimension I strive for in my work,” she said.
Weir’s three-dimensional, multi-media pieces combine weaving, ply-split braiding and shibori.
“Living on the Salish Sea, I discovered the bewildering creatures of the intertidal zone and seaweed of all colors and textures laid out on the sand in beautiful compositions,” she said.
“I am drawn to piles of kelp glistening in the sun, rocks and pebbles washed by the crashing waves, sunrises on the bay, and of course the sea anemones.”
Silva is a Brazilian-born textile artist, whose focus is crafting unique wall tapestries inspired by textural combinations and the interesting pairings of fibers.
After 13 years working in the fashion design industry in Seattle, Silva discovered a hands-on response to her love for textiles through weaving.
“Living on the Peninsula, surrounded and inspired by the sea and other artistic minds, I feel as if my hidden passion for fibers has always been there, waiting to emerge,” she said.
Grover Gallery is one of two downtown galleries from Northwind Art that represents regional working artists by curating juried, invitational and community exhibits.
With the Jan. 1 merger of Port Townsend School of the Arts and Northwind Arts Center, the new Northwind Art is committed to cultivating the arts through education, exhibits and artist advancement.
For more information, see NorthwindArt.org.