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April 2014



Fabulous Fibers: Fun and Functional, the March Huron Valley Council for the Arts exhibit, hosts a gallery opening from 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 4.

The event will give those attending the opportunity to meet the three local fiber artists and enjoy light refreshments.

Local artists Mary Bacjz, Kathy Amerman and Valerie Shoen elaborated upon the exhibit’s concept in a joint statement, “Our exhibit is focused on the many interpretations of fiber art. In particular, art and wearable art that is inspired by nature. Our show will include colorful framed tapestries using non-traditional warp and a variety of fibers and embellishments. We also feature quilts and rugs, garments, accessories, as well as woven and fiber jewelry, and fiber vessels.”

During a unique event held in conjunction with the exhibit, Bacjz will give a talk “Quilt Making: From Functional to Art Form” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24. The event is free and open to the public.   

Why fiber?

Bacjz explained her thoughts. “Humans surround themselves in fiber every day,” she stated. “We wear it, sleep in it, and make our homes and workplaces more comfortable with it. Beyond the purely functional, fibers add beauty to our lives in what we wear and how we choose to decorate our surroundings.”

“I am truly inspired by nature,” added Amerman. “I love to run or walk through the woods and fields and often stop to take pictures that I will ‘turn into’ weavings.  From the smallest wildflower to the largest lake, I find a beautiful palette of colors and textures that I emulate in my work.”

Schoen said, “My main focus is the pure enjoyment of working with my hands and imagination to create something out of nothing…..I hope the quality of the work I accomplish is evident to others.”

Bacjz, a Milford resident for 40-plus years, earned a degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University. Her primary artistic passion, however, is quilting, which she started 38 years ago. Her quilts have been entered in national shows; she shares her love of quilting by teaching and public speaking. She is “constantly delighted by the endless ways fabrics can be combined into a beautiful and useful quilt — art that can keep you warm.” For her, quilting is a source of serendipity: she begins with an idea, assembles fabrics, starts cutting and sewing and watches to see if good things happen … and they almost always do. Her fiber items include smaller art quilts, reversible silk jackets, heaps of handbags, knit items and hooked rugs. She discovered the technique of “free cut piecing” about 12 years ago, describing it as “a technique that lets me ‘draw’ with my rotary cutter.” It serves as her artistic voice.

Amerman grew up in Ann Arbor and has lived in Milford nearly 28 years. She earned a B.S. in Engineering at Michigan State University and received her Masters of Engineering in Applied Mechanics at Stanford University. She worked for General Motors (primarily at the Milford Proving Grounds) for more than 33 years in the field of noise and vibration. As she retired in 2012, she now is able to pursue various interests, which include violin performance, trail running, community involvement (YMCA, library, planning commission) and (last but not least) her fiber art. She took an interest in fiber art starting in college, where she attended a community education course in weaving. Through the years, she put together a few projects here and there, but with a job, a husband, and two boys, she had little time for artistic pursuits. For the past several years, though, she’s been a member of Black Sheep Weavers Fiber Guild in Hartland, receiving considerable inspiration and knowledge from the guild’s talented members. She also is a part of the artistic co-op, the HVCA ArtShop, and has shown her work at HVCA events such as Art on the River and Arts and Greens as well as art shows in Elk Rapids and the Garden Walk in Milford.

In the 40 years she’s lived in Commerce Township, Schoen said she’s seen a lot of changes. A graduate of Walsh College with a bachelor of accountancy degree, she’s worked at various companies throughout the years. After being part of major layoffs due to the recent poor economy, she said she has relied on knitting and other craft pursuits to maintain her sanity. Schoen has been involved with HVCA for the past two-and-a-half years; she started out as a volunteer and was accepted as a member of the ArtShop artist cooperative in 2012; she specializes in knitted shrugs, using her own pattern, which she developed after seeing examples on television, because she prefers to expand her own ideas, rather than depend upon those of others.

Gallery hours for Fabulous Fibers are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays Wednesday, April 2 through Monday, April 28.

For more information about the exhibit, call HVCA at 248-889-8660.

Copy by: Anne Seebaldt


Emerging Masters ~ Elementary School Exhibit


HIGHLAND, Mich. — One night simply was not enough to open the Huron Valley Council for the Arts and Huron Valley Schools Elementary Art Department’s joint exhibit, Emerging Masters.

The exhibit features the work of student artists who hail from Highland, Spring Mills, Brooks, Kurtz, Country Oaks, Lakewood, Johnson, Heritage and Oxbow elementary schools in Huron Valley School District.

“Huron Valley Schools Elementary Art Department in partnership with HVCA is honored to showcase art work from students from all of our elementary schools,” said Denise Forrest, Country Oaks art teacher and coordinator on behalf of the school district. "This exhibit is the culmination of a year's worth of art education and creativity on behalf of both our art teachers and our students. There will be a wide variety of art on display, both two- and three-dimensional, from the elements and principles of art, to realism and abstraction to world cultures.”

The opening receptions take place at HVCA's gallery, 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday March 6th for students from Heritage, Spring Mills, Highland,  Johnson &  Kurtz. A second reception will be held on Friday March 7th  6-7:30 pm for students from Country Oaks, Lakewood, Oxbow, Brooks.

Teachers from each of the schools will be present:

Janet Powell/Highland and Johnson

Tyra Fortson/Heritage

Lisa Rolls/Spring Mills and Highland

Denise Forrest/Country Oaks

Sina Kaczor/Kurtz and Johnson

Katheryn Krupa/Oxbow and Brooks

Debby Warner/Lakewood and Brooks

Forrest added, “In elementary art, students are introduced to a variety of art forms and media," she said. "Students learn to look, understand, judge and create artwork to communicate meaning. Beginning in kindergarten, students learn art vocabulary and concepts that they will use throughout their school career. Creativity, problem solving and critical thinking are embedded in the teaching and making of art."

Gallery hours for Emerging Masters are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays through March 29. 

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