With Fiberart International 2022 coming up we wanted to check on artists who participated in previous exhibitions, see what they are up to now and how participating in the exhibition impacted them.
Written by Katie Bulova
Adrienne Sloane is a two-time participant of Fiberart International and a 2007 Fiberart International award winner. She found the experience well-organized and was particularly impressed with how well the Fiberart International leadership treated the artists.
For Adrienne, one of the most meaningful components of the 2007 show was audience feedback. Engaging with viewers helped foster an intimate emotional and intellectual connection between artist and audience which impacted future work. At the 2019 Fiberart International, Adrienne was excited to incorporate the space itself into her piece, “Marking Time.” With permission from FI, she was allowed to write directly on the gallery walls, thus creating an immersive experience for the viewer.
Adrienne’s fiber sculpture career began with a used knitting machine and an article on Judith Duffy’s sculptural knitting techniques. Thus began a joyful research of what could she could accomplish with knitted sculpture. She became part of the craft community, focusing on sculptural hats, creating a very receptive buying public. A heartbreaking studio building fire in 1999 destroyed her body of work and most of her materials, putting her art career on hiatus.
Regrouping and rethinking
Adrienne started to rebuild by becoming chair of the local art council and by helping to create a community art center as she also tentatively resumed her art practice. As rescued yarns and art materials slowly moved up from her basement storage, they again became art-making tools, leading to a new studio. In 2004 with rescued yarns, she finished her first piece, “Unfinished Business,” the day gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. This coincidence inspired a shift of focus from wearable to political art and working with themes that held deeper resonance for her.
Adrienne, one artist from a family of artists, now has a body of work with calls for equity, justice, and community engagement. While a personal expression, her work also amplifies voices of reason, voices of dissent, and the cries of protest, often using iconic American flag imagery. Recent work includes an exploration of police brutality and the Constitution.
Title: Marking Time (2019 FiberArts International Submission)
Medium/Technique: knit cotton over wire
Height: 84” Width: 64” Depth: 12”
In response to the world being shuttered in March 2020, Adrienne collected fabric scraps from quilter friends throwing herself into mask production. These masks were given away to police and nursing homes and anyone else who agreed to pay it forward through donations to food banks and political organizations. As the pandemic continued and still stuck at home, she then shifted to paper mâché’ art masks using materials at hand, including provocative text from the New York Times.
Title: Demand Justice
Medium/ Technique: Papier Maché, knitting
Height: 4.5” Width: 6.5” Depth: 3.5”
Adrienne’s works promote conversation on topics we often avoid. “The Unraveling”, both a visual and a performance piece, speaks to the core of our country’s democratic structure. It was on public display for most of the last administration, appropriately spending the final year in quarantine at the Massachusetts State House. After four years of audience forums and artists’ talks, Adrienne was most impressed with the group of fifth graders she talked with during the initial seven months the Unraveling was on view at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. At 10 and 11 years of age, they shared worries of a president whose rhetoric was racist and whose policies felt like personal attacks. Their worries remain a call to action: we must listen, and we must change.
Title: It’s a Matter of Black & White
Medium/Technique: quilted, knit
Height: 18” Width: 12”
She plans on submitting to Fiberart International 2022.
Adrienne’s work can be found at: https://adriennesloane.com/