Collins Memorial Library gets ‘All Stitched Up’

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“Stitching the Forest Together,” by Lucia Harrison of Tacoma, combines paper, thread, oak and ink to create what appears to be a tree house in the jungle. Credit: Lucia Harrison
Catherine Alice Michaelis offers “Trial By Fire,” which features vintage potholders upon which words appear. Credit: Catherine Alice Michaelis

By John Larson
jlarson@tacomaweekly.com

The art of stitching is displayed in “All Stitched Up,” which just opened at the Collins Memorial Library on the campus of the University of Puget Sound. The curators of the exhibit are Catherine Alice Michaelis, Diana Weymar and Jane Carline. In her statement, Michaelis explains how she issued a call for submissions last year for this exhibit. It drew 105 respondents from 11 countries who submitted more than 200 pieces. This was narrowed to 57 pieces for this exhibit.

Michaelis explains how stitches are used in binding, text and images. They can join fabric together, as well as join people together in a common cause. These range from the abolitionist movement of the 1800s, to modern sewing collectives with anti-war, pro-science and pro-choice messages to promote.

In “A Journey,” Bonnie Larson examines how she moved from a place in her life 11 years ago dominated by sorrow, fear and isolation to where she is today, surrounded by art, friends and great joy. The small panels on her piece show groups she has joined, such as Puget Sound Book Artists and a Bible study group at Life Center.

“Community Garden,” by Ava Brock, delves into the joys of urban gardening. Part of a basket is sewn onto this piece, which pops with color from the red fruits and vegetables. 

Alicia Bailey of Aurora, Colo. and Lauren Winges of Denver offer one of the more interesting pieces with “Cities and Skies.” The story is printed on a scroll of light blue paper. It can fit nicely in the companion box. The pages almost look like glass. This makes for a great concept in packaging.

“Vanilla” by Lynn and Gene Olson of Redmond is shaped like an ice cream cone, with writing on the cone.

Michaelis, a Shelton resident, offers “Trial By Fire.” It has an old pot with a lid and vintage potholders upon which words appear. One refers to witches being burned at the stake in Salem, Mass.

“A Book of Hours,” by Madelyn Garrett of South Jordan, Utah, contains watch parts, pearls, stones and beads, all mounted on silver and gold leaf bonding.

The Edgewood cooperative Women on the Water present a piece with 15 panels, lined up accordion style. On the back is a photo of the creator, while the front displays their creativity. All the panels have a theme related to boating.

“Stitching the Forest Together,” by Lucia Harrison of Tacoma, is in a display case. Paper, thread, oak and ink combine to create what appears to be a tree house in the jungle.

A few pieces leave the viewer wishing to see more in order to understand the artist’s entire message. An example is “Curls, Perms, Bobs, Our Hairdos,” by Judy Cook of Olympia. As it is displayed, only a few pages can be viewed.

An opening reception will be held at library on Sept. 14 from 3:30-5 p.m. At 1:30 p.m., Dr. Anna Wager will give a lecture titled “A Mind at Work: May Morris and Subversive Stitching.”

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