Written by Jean Thomas

How about techniques fiber artists choose?
Exploring digital techniques.
Once more I consulted earlier FI catalogs.

Starting in 1999 there were two samples, Denis Sargent with a digital print.Continue Reading


Written by Jean Thomas

More about material fiber artists choose.

Lori Lupe Pelish FI07 artist

In my recent blog post I wrote about some of the unusual fiber materials that were chosen by artists whose work is in previous Internationals. So now it’s time to survey the usual or more frequent choices.Continue Reading


Written by Jean ThomasMany of us who identify ourselves as a fiber artist have encountered this question:  What is a fiber artist or what exactly do you mean by fiber.  We could reply with one of these definitions of fiber:

Continue Reading

Juror Michael Olijnik

We are delighted to announce that Michael Olijnik, Director of the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, PA will join Sonya Clark and Jane Sauer as the third juror for Fiberart International 2019. For the past 41 years, Olijnyk has worked with Mattress Factory founder Barbara Luderowski to envision and develop the museum’s programs.
In 1979 he became Curator of Exhibitions and is responsible for the Mattress Factory’s artistic program, that has exhibited installations by Damien Hirst, Ryder Henry, James Turrell, and Kiki Smith, among others. In 2008 he became the museum’s Co-Director, assuming the Directorship in June 2018, following Luderowski’s death.

Browsing the catalogs

Written by Jean Thomas

Ever so often I browse through my collection of Fiberart Intertational catalogs, starting with 2001. I joined the Guild in 1999 or thereabouts. So here are a few statistics and observations. The 2001 and 2004 catalogs were a modest 6×9 inches with 116 and 88 pages respectively. In 2007 the catalog size grew to 8 1/2 x 11 inches with128 pages.Continue Reading

Memories of Barbara Luderowski

Written by Jean Thomas

Memorial tributes to Barbara Luderowski continue to come from many sources–locally, nationally and internationally.

“Barbara was an artist—unique, highly perceptive and intelligent, feisty,—and always on the advance. May her creative, pioneering spirit continue to guide the Mattress Factory.” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

In a 2002 interview with a Post-Gazette writer, Barbara said, “Art deals with the spiritual side, the gentler side of life.” The reporter went on to write:
“The woman who is totally devoted to the gentler side of life is a complicated mix of gruffness and compassion, anger and humor. Her gruffness is so pronounced that she’s been likened to a military commander.
“She’s like Patton,” said Thomas Sokolowski, then director of The Andy Warhol Museum. “We wouldn’t say that Patton was a sweet charming guy, ‘Father Knows Best.’ But he was a wonderful general, and he knew how to do it. Barbara’s the same way.

I first met Barbara in the 1970s when I was exploring Pittsburgh’s Northside thanks to Pittsburgh History and Landmarks.  Someone in their office mentioned that an old mattress factory had been purchased recently.  To find it I first had to locate the alley, Sampsonia Way (this was before Mayor Sophie Masloff made sure all streets AND alleys were signed.)  At that time the building had a loading dock, and as I approached there was this rather stern looking woman in jeans was standing on the loading dock eyeing me.  When I told her I was curious about the building and had heard rumors it was to be an art gallery of sorts, she welcomed me, gave me a hand up the dock and proceeded to take me on a mini tour of the place via the elevator.  The elevator was an open sided freight elevator, not for the faint hearted.  After the Mattress Factory obtained their non profit status, one of the stipulations was that there must be a Board of Directors.  I was one of the early Board members.   We mostly listened while Barbara laid out her plans, some of which seemed quite   audacious.  Many of us never dreamed that the Mattress Factory would achieve national and international fame.  Barbara made it happen!

Barbara’s vision, tenacity and vast experience will be sorely missed by many, including those of us involved in Fiberart International 2019 who had looked forward eagerly to her participation as juror.

Jean Thomas

Barbara Luderowski

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Barbara Luderowski.

We invite you to read more about her life and creative spirit here.

We will have information about our jurying soon.

My work is…….

As fiber artists  complete their entry forms for Fiberart International 2019 there is always that blank to fill out for an “Artist Statement.” For some it’s an easy assignment.  For others it poses a real challenge.  So here is a sample of opening phrases gleaned from catalogs for previous Internationals.
My work is a response to——–
Joanna Donchatz – FI13 artist
My work is a response to my family history and homeplace of Appalachia. The weavings are composed like collages from photographs, text, documents, drawings, and maps. My grandfather’s coal mining experience led me to reflect on its impact. The fractal-like image of the lung is a symbol of his illness and references veins, fingerprints, streams, trees, roots, mountain ranges, cracks, faults, and fractures. They map the destruction both of the landscape and of my grandfather’s health. The traditional quilt motif is an important reoccurring element as a metaphor for the landscape of Appalachia, comfort, and family.

Continue Reading

Down Fiberart International Memory Lane

One of our long-time members was doing some deep housecleaning recently and came upon a Fiberart International treasure trove from the past—a 20th century prospectus, invitation, catalog, and review. I was delighted to get my hands on these juicy historical treats. They conjure lost memories and significant milestones in Fiberart International’s history.

Continue Reading

Behind the Scenes at Fiberart International

Did you know that Fiberart International has been happening for over 50 years? It began as Stitchery International and evolved to include all fiber-related mediums. Twenty-three exhibitions later, FI has been pivotal in exhibiting innovative work from around the world. Do you wonder just what it takes to produce an exhibition of this stature?
You know the old adage, “Many hands make light work.” In the case of Fiberart International, it’s many hands, feet, arms, legs, eyes, ears, brains!Continue Reading